Last night, I was in Target looking for oven cleaner spray. As I was perusing the shelves, I came across the OxiClean products and immediately, a chuckle exited my body. I was reminded of one of the most underrated moments in television history. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Billy Mays OxiClean commercial.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across the famed commercial in the early morning hours of November 18, 2000. Not long after finishing my 4pm-1am Friday closing shift at Domino’s Pizza, I found myself laying across my bed and typing away on the 1st of 2 November 18 entries into Triumphs & Tribulations I while also watching BET: Uncut. During one of the commercial breaks, the Billy Mays OxiClean commercial came on. That was my introduction to it.
What it meant to me then? At the time, it was just something about the commercial that fascinated me. Mays seemed very knowledgeable about the product and he showed great enthusiasm in showcasing it. His voice and his nonverbals were fantastic. Everything I saw in that commercial was basically what Steve Hall taught me about upselling the pizza products…except it was far more advanced. I actually managed to catch the commercial about 2 weeks later, where I was able to record it on VHS. I studied it and started mimicking the way that Billy Mays sold the greatness of the product. It helped me tremendously.
What it means to me now? I’m not in the business of upselling products today so the commercial doesn’t carry that meaning for me at this particular point in time. But, I am reminded of Billy’s seemingly acute knowledge of the product. As a professional building manager, by trade, I pride myself on being knowledgeable about aspects of my job…to the extent where I’m comfortable talking about them in any setting to any person at any time. As my career specialty is fairly unknown to most, it takes a different kind of confidence and charisma to get people interested in—or at the very least, a place where they understand—my work. It’s for that reason that I reflect back on the Billy Mays OxiClean commercial. It’s one of the best teachers in that regard.