I have a confession..
I am a British SHAM WOW! Salesman
The success of the The Underground Comedy Movie
infomercial suggested to Offer that he should sell something more mainstream
. Drawing upon his experience working in flea markets
, he decided in 2006 to market a cleaning product that he saw there, an absorbent towel that he called the ShamWow!.
The advertisement, filmed in the summer of 2007 with a budget of $20,000, became a popular hit. Slate.com's
Seth Stevenson praised Offer for his "impressive and subtle mastery of the pitchman's art" (with lines such as "you know the Germans always make good stuff"), and wondered if Offer's "abrasive manner might also mark a unique, new strategy in the annals of pitchdom." Stevenson compared Offer to earlier, "more upbeat" television pitchmen like the late Billy Mays
and the Home Shopping Network
hosts and concluded that Offer's "smooth-talking condescension" was more suited to the present "zeitgeist
" than the "earnest fervor" of spokesmen like Mays and Ron Popeil
reported that the infomercial for ShamWow! initially featured Offer claiming that the product held "20 times its weight in liquid". Later, the infomercial was changed to Offer claiming the ShamWow! held "12 times its weight in liquid", then again to "10 times". Consumer Reports did its own test on the product and found that it does indeed hold 10 times its weight in liquid but no more.
The official ShamWow website claims that the product holds 12 times its weight in liquid.
Offer says that he's sold millions of the towels.
Notwithstanding his infomercial success, Offer says that "this is not my career" and that he considers himself to be in the film business.
Pitchman Billy Mays had been promoting a similar product called Zorbeez
two years prior to Vince Offer's ShamWow! product. Mays noted that the ShamWow! commercials use many of the same product demonstrations as the earlier-produced Zorbeez commercial. In February 2009 while on the Adam Corolla
radio show, Billy Mays publicly challenged Offer to a "pitch off" between their respective absorbent towel products. Popular Mechanics
actually did compare the absorbency of two towel products and declared ShamWow! the clear winner.
This result had been hotly contested by Billy Mays before his death, and was a major part of the season finale of the Discovery Channel
. During the finale episode, it was suggested that the Popular Mechanics
tester did not use the Zorbeez correctly, possibly with the wrong side.