Mighty Tape “Billy Mays”

Some may find it crass for the folks at Media Enterprises to release the final spots featuring iconic pitchman Billy Mays. But I think my colleague Barbara Lippert nailed it in her column this week when she noted that the bearded, blue-shirted one “was a mighty pitchman. His work deserves to live on.” This Mighty Tape effort is par for the course in terms of the Mays canon: it’s goofy, loud and fun, TV sales mania at its middle-brow, mid-budget best, with the man himself as magnetic as ever. You can’t help smiling at shots of Mays in scuba gear using Magic Tape to repair a diver’s punctured air hose, literally portraying product and pitchman as heroes. Sure, there’s a certain eeriness factor given his recent demise, but there’s poignancy as well, with the campaign serving as a tribute and giving us a last chance to enjoy his work and say goodbye. From all accounts, Billy Mays loved his job, was loved in turn by millions (basically for being himself) and, for a time at least, he’ll be fondly remembered by just about everyone. We should all be so lucky. –David Gianatasio