Vinny Goes To Hollywood – Why Vince the Sham Wow Guy Jumped the Shark

I think Vince the Sham-Wow infomercial guy just jumped the shark.  He may have fallen into the trap of believing he can sell anything, that he is infinitely charming, and that he is now ready for prime-time.

If you don’t know who Vince is, he is the pitchman for the Sham-Wow absorbent towel sold on DRTV infomercials.  The towels have sold very well, and he has built a bit of a cult following for his flea-market, carnival barking sales approach and low budget infomercial.  Check it out – and take a look at the lighting which was probably done with a couple of halogen lamps left over from painting the garage.

Now Vince is selling a kitchen chopper called the “Slap Chop”.  Here is the spot for his new product.

Notice the big upgrade in production values in the Slap Chop ad compared to the Sham Wow spot.  He’s trying to go Hollywood, and I think he has jumped the shark.  Why?

  • Production values are too slick. Direct response works best when it is raw and sincere.  Ugly sells.
  • Trying too hard. With lines like “you’ll love my nuts” and “life is too hard already”, he has lost the conversational nature of being a guy who is aggressive but sincere about his product.
  • Headset as a prop. He may not really need it in the Sham Wow spot either, but in that case it really works becuase it looks like we just plucked him off of the trade-show floor for 5 minutes to cut a commercial before he went back to demo the towel in front of another crowd of onlookers.  In the slick kitchen set, it makes no sense.

I don’t know Vince, but I read his ambition is to be a film producer and not a salesman of home products.  I like him when he is real.  For everyone’s sake, please jump back over the shark.


Update – Well,  now Vince has gotten himself in trouble with a lady of the evening.  This does not bode well for him – people don’t want their infomercial hosts to conduct themselves this way in public.  Short memories may work to his advantage – time will tell.

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8 Responses to “Vinny Goes To Hollywood – Why Vince the Sham Wow Guy Jumped the Shark”

  1. Dave Rigotti on February 8th, 2009:

    I had a friend get the Sham Wow for a present over the holidays and they were disgusted on how the product didn’t work as advertised. They tried drying their car and said it hardly took off any water at all.

  2. sashanker on February 8th, 2009:

    Are you following me camera guy?!!

  3. Laser PewPew on February 8th, 2009:

    Cause you know we can’t do this all day….


  4. Michael Baird on February 8th, 2009:

    did he go to the Billy Mase school of infomercials…

  5. Ed Roach on February 8th, 2009:

    I think he’s pretty good. I don’t think the production values hurt him. My favorite line is, “You’re gonna love my nuts” .

    My only negative is that the format is identical right down to the people outside of the outdoor booth. When he says, “we can’t do this all day” it doesn’t seem as genuine as the sham wow version.
    He says it more like a slogan.

    All and all he has appeal.

  6. jeremy on February 8th, 2009:

    I liked the slap chop until he throws it over his shoulder and it makes that sound effect in the sink. Then it’s quite clear he’s just hamming it up with his nuts and all.

  7. Tom on February 8th, 2009:

    I love this commercial. Its clearly done with a wink and a nod to this whole genre – as you can tell when he utters the line “we can’t do this all day”. Everyone knows the “call within the next 20 mins” is BS since these things run in a gazillion markets at different times – and he is simply acknowledging the fact that its BS.. but you still get 2 if you order.

  8. Fritz Stolzenbach on February 8th, 2009:

    Hey, Bryan —

    Stumbled across this today, and was moved to comment. The deal is this: Vince is a CARNY. Seriously, he didn’t learn his spiel on a trade show floor, he learned it sandwiched in between the “guess your weight” guy and the dude who tries to convince “marks” that it’s possible to win your lady friend an overstuffed teddy bear by tossing a ring over a bottleneck. Vince has no class? No kidding!

    There’s a lesson in here somewhere. To tell you the truth, I have immense respect — albeit deeply conflicted respect — for the carnies and televangelists of the world. Year after year — hell, century after century — they manage to continue selling the hell out of their sh*t without changing their fundamental spiel AT ALL. It’s like they’ve distilled the art of the pitch to a crystalline purity, and all the rest of us are doing is adding fruit and nuts to the deal. Seriously, head out to the state fair next time it comes around, and spend time down in the pits where they sell miracle cheese graters and power washers. You’ll be amazed at the perverse beauty of it all.

    Hey, you going to SXSW this year?

    Cheers —