This isn’t exactly sports-related — well, ESPN does feature tangentially — but I just wanted to write about it.
Anyone who watches ESPNU on even a limited basis knows that the channel is the home for almost every conceivable infomercial in existence. Watching college baseball, each half-inning break seems to lead into either a spot for the NCAA or yet another infomercial, in which a seen or unseen spokesman extols the virtues of a litany of products and services, including the “Wonder Hanger”, “InventHelp”…and the “Awesome Auger”.
The spot for the Awesome Auger stars the formerly ubiquitous TV pitchman Billy Mays, with the emphasis on “formerly”. Mays, of course, has been dead for almost a year. Now, maybe the company that sells this gizmo doesn’t have the money to hire another spokesperson or cut another TV spot, but on the other hand, it seems to have enough money to keep running the spot featuring Mays.
I think the part that annoys me the most is that after Mays has finished his pitch, an offscreen announcer intones, “There’s more Billy!” and starts detailing additional reasons to purchase the tool. I realize this was part of the original spot, and that Mays was still alive at the time it was produced, but it’s jarring nonetheless.
Of course, it’s possible that the blond woman using the “Wonder Hanger” or InventHelp on-air personality George McGhee are no longer with us, either, but the point is that Mays was a celebrity in his own right, and we know he’s dead. It just strikes me that continuing to use the Mays ad to promote the product is incredibly crass, even by the standards of an industry not particularly known for good taste.
The other entity that I think deserves criticism for this is ESPN. I am mildly surprised that the network continues to allow the Mays spot to be run, particularly since Mays once featured in ads for ESPN (promoting what was then known as ESPN360). Apparently the folks running things at Disney don’t have an issue with it.
Maybe I am over-thinking this, and it’s not really a big deal, but (just for an example) I have to wonder if ESPN would run a “This is SportsCenter” spot starring Tom Mees, if one were available. I seriously doubt it.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Just a mini-rant. Back to the games.