Unless you have been living under a rock(in which case you won’t be reading this), you know that this past week has been very strange with the losses of 4 Celebrities. Ed McMahon known for star search and the tonight show, Farrah Fawcett for her work as an actress and model, Michael Jackson for numerous Pop Music hits and of course Billy Mays the ultimate Pitchman. While each of these people brought a different element of entertainment and contributions to the world I make the argument that the significance of the loss of Billy Mays is by far the worst.
In today’s society it is common place for us to put actors, musicians and sports stars in the spotlight, it is because culture likes to be entertained. While I am not bashing or saying that we don’t need entertainment we create such an importance on it due to the fact that we want to be distracted from our own lives. Many people get sucked into entertainment that they forget to live, watching endless sports games and movies; And while I indulge in this quite a bit, we as a culture should be focusing on the more important things in life.
People like Billy Mays and his “Pitchmen” counterpart Anthony Sullivan and their related direct response companies are one of the best encouragements to American society. I say this because many if not most of those products are the result of an individual entrepreneurs invention or efforts, just take a look at one list of products http://www.asseenontv.com/ . One of the driving forces which put the USA on top of the tech is our innovative products and inventive people. These days when people are concerned with the economy, shipping jobs overseas, and many issues to numerous to mention, we need to be encouraging people to go into their garages and workshops and try to invent something. While I don’t mean to downplay Billy’s personal life he stood as a public spokes person in an industry which promotes and celebrates innovation and invention. The American dream of coming up with an idea and bringing it to market in hopes of making money from your brain child is something I believe lives deep down within each one of us.
As someone who works for a big company that does product development I have become aware of how hard it is to bring something to market, and can further appreciate how much of enablers Mays and the direct response industry is. While there are many different programs which encourage the same ideals loosing a public figure can hurt this effort. I hope that people keep inventing and keep pushing themselves so that we as a country can stay prominent. I for one have lots of ideas which I would love to see products and I am sorry that Billy Mays can’t be my pitchman, but am hopeful that when I am ready there will be people who can help the little guy, like myself.