“Consumed” columnist, Rob Walker, takes on a subject today that has the power to upset, annoy and challenge people who build brands for a living.
That’s right, Billy Mays is the subject of an article in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Pretty highbrow territory for the master of yell-and-sell.
Walker points out that despite Mays ubiquity, he’s not for everyone.
Bob Garfield, a columnist for Advertising Age, recently argued that data-mining techniques — using information consumers volunteer on social-networking sites like Facebook to focus marketing more precisely — will replace loud and endlessly replayed commercials. In fact, he used Mays as a one-man stand-in for the kind of selling tactics being swept aside.
I bet Garfield’s assertions make Mays laugh all the way to the bank. Social networks are great for the engaged audience that’s willing to work a little and pay even more attention. But what about the masses in their recliners? For them, Billy Mays provides solutions to common household problems.
Mays’ style of selling is effective, which gives me reason to pause. I work to put something smart out there in the marketplace in hopes that it will attract an audience. Mays, on the other hand, doesn’t bother with lofty notions about building relationships and making lasting impressions. He’s got hot cakes!