Sunday, December 16, 2018

The OxiClean Enigma

Can someone please help me?

I was watching this OxiClean commercial, thinking to myself that it's really well done, strikes all the right notes, and is remarkably persuasive re: the product. And then, at the very end, this weird, cheesy, 1980's dude comes out of nowhere to deliver the capper with an extremely weird vibe, like he'd stepped onto the set from another commercial.

Take a look:

I've been trying to suss out how this might have happened. Here's my best theory:

They'd planned to dress the guy in a referee's uniform, put a whistle around his neck, and have him deliver the capper like an official game call, with mock gravitas. Finding it didn't quite work - and they already had him on set, and desperately needed the tagline delivered somehow or other - they had the actor take off the ref's outfit and just deliver the line. They didn't know how to direct him because, having nixed the referee idea, there was no alternative rationale for someone to step in-camera at that moment to make that statement. So he went with the referee gravitas he'd rehearsed, and, to "really sell it", lubed it up with all the 80's charisma he could squeeze out of himself.

Any better ideas?


Dave said...

OxiClean was first sold on TV via infomercials. The pitchman was Billy Mays, who was featured on all their commercials, and became a breakout media celebrity. When he died, Anthony Sullivan took over, and that's who you see at the end of the commercial. He is not supposed to be part of the vignette. OxiClean runs a series of commercials that feature "real life" success stories of "real people" using OxiClean. This is just one such example, there are many more, all ending with Sullivan doing the hard pitch. OxiClean has always featured hard sell informercial-type pitches, in a long tradition dating back to the early days of Ronco and K-Tel.

Jim Leff said...

"He is not supposed to be part of the vignette"

View again. He's on the football field.

If it was just his head popping up, like in a bubble or whatever, I'd figure they were just rocking it old school. As-is, I'm just not getting it.

Dave said...

They are rocking it old school! But OxiClean helped define old school. I may be wrong, but as far as I know, Sullivan is featured like this on all these Real Life commercials. Although he is not as well known as Billy Mays, he IS the brand now.

Dave said...

Here's another example featuring a full-screen Sullivan:

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