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• Billy Mays to Pitch Microsoft Zune HD

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 47 comments
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“Billy Mays, here, for Microsoft’s amazing new entertainment device,” will be the new audio refrain soon blasting out of TVs far and wide.

Microsoft has hired the omnipresent pitchmen Billy Mays to help convince a skeptical public to buy its new handheld media device, the Zune HD. The company is hoping Mays will be able to do for Zune HD what he has done for other products, such as OxiClean.

The move represents what some analysts deem to be a natural progression for Microsoft’s advertising campaigns. “They are following one of the basic tenants of advertising and promotion theory,” says Professor Jim Work of the Wharton School of Business. “Microsoft first started with a series of Jerry Seinfeld commercials that were about as easy for the general public to understand as a Jackson Pollock painting or a voicemail message from Bob Dylan. When that failed, Microsoft decided to put itself in the customer’s shoes with people trying to find low-cost computers that, coincidentally, were unavailable in Apple form. Finally, the company has decided to throw caution to the wind with the incessant yelling of Billy Mays.”

Whether or not this strategy will work remains unclear. Few doubt Mays’ ability to sell new products to the public. However, the products he usually pitches fill voids in the marketplace, with Mays playing the role of educator, helping people solve problems with which they can readily identify. In this case, however, the Microsoft Zune HD is attempting to go up against an established competitor in the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

Apple doesn’t seem to be very worried about the upcoming Zune. Previous versions have failed to put much of a dent in any of the iPod line. Sales seem to have been restricted to Bill Gates’ children (who the billionaire refuses to allow own any Apple devices) and those still hoping that HD DVD will beat out Blu-ray in the format wars.

Also, with Apple holding, and vowing to vigorously defend, the patents on multi-touch techniques for portable devices, it is unclear how Microsoft plans to make the Zune HD more user-friendly than the iPod Touch. All these complications ensure that Mays has his work cut out for him with this product, but it would be foolish to count him out just yet. The full specifications for the Zune HD haven’t been released. If it turns out the unit is able to help vacuum up red wine spills, Mays might just have a shot.

[• This story, marked with a • is weekend entertainment content only and should not to be considered factual ]

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    my_name_is_earl , May 30, 2009 9:24 AM
    What's freakier than this guy? That Shamwow guy :) 
  • 11 Hide
    m3kt3k , May 30, 2009 4:26 PM
    AND CALL NOW AND IT COMES WITH FREE THATS RIGHT FREE PAN FLUTE MUSIC.. A 19.99 VALUE. CALL NOW.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    falchard , May 30, 2009 8:32 AM
    I never wanted a Zune more.
  • 6 Hide
    MrF430 , May 30, 2009 9:14 AM
    I cant wait! I do however think that B Mays might not be the right person to pitch the Zune HD! I mean, if he does it like the OxyClean commercials then it might cheapen (to the mass demographic aka unaware public) peoples perception of the Zune HD to that of a cheaply made piece of junk sold on an infomercial. The fact is that the character/persona of B Mays will automatically invoke that feeling in a lot of people!

    I think with the uphill battle the Zune HD has against the iPod touch, MS should take every precaution to avoid harming or tarnishing the device launch or, most importantly, its (product) public perception!
  • 16 Hide
    my_name_is_earl , May 30, 2009 9:24 AM
    What's freakier than this guy? That Shamwow guy :) 
  • 0 Hide
    ThePatriot , May 30, 2009 10:06 AM
    Another failure in the making?
  • 2 Hide
    enyceckk101 , May 30, 2009 10:50 AM
    I can't wait for " Will it blend "

    sry, I just woke up and that was my first thing on my mind.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , May 30, 2009 1:07 PM
    MS has hired Billy Mays ??? Seriously ??? In that case, I'll never buy any MS product again !!! Can't stand the man. If EVER that was a pitchman who annoyed me, he's it. The only one I can think of who's worse is the stupidly "Smilin' Bob" Enzite man.
  • 2 Hide
    donkeypunch , May 30, 2009 1:42 PM
    I couldn't believe this guy pitched health insurance too. He just doesn't seem to fit that role. Stick to selling orange scented douche that can also clean your carpet and be used as salad dressing Mr. Billy Mays.
  • 1 Hide
    blackened144 , May 30, 2009 2:08 PM
    my_name_is_earlWhat's freakier than this guy? That Shamwow guy

    Even freakier than that is Shamwow guy after he got his tongue bit off by the hooker here in Miami. I dont know how much tongue was bitten off, but I dont think he will be pitching anything soon.
  • -2 Hide
    IzzyCraft , May 30, 2009 2:09 PM
    Oh SHI- apple is F#@&ed now t-t
  • 9 Hide
    Oknarf , May 30, 2009 2:11 PM
    People, read please before commenting: "[• This story, marked with a • is weekend entertainment content only and should not to be considered factual ]"
  • -5 Hide
    rjkucia , May 30, 2009 2:12 PM
    mays-haterMS has hired Billy Mays ??? Seriously ??? In that case, I'll never buy any MS product again !!! Can't stand the man. If EVER that was a pitchman who annoyed me, he's it. The only one I can think of who's worse is the stupidly "Smilin' Bob" Enzite man.


    • This story, marked with a • is weekend entertainment content only and should not to be considered factual


    Dear Tom's Hardware,
    I would rather have you not have any news at all than confuse us with fake news that pretty much makes every weekend April Fool's Day.
    Love,
    me
  • 4 Hide
    NuclearShadow , May 30, 2009 2:22 PM
    Billy Mays here bringing you another awesome product! The Microsoft Zune HD! It plays music and videos in high def! That's high definition folks! Its so easy to use your grandparents can listen to their classical music on it with ease! Its so hip with the kids these days that they will be the envy of their peers as they listen to the hardcore gangsta rap on it. Bitches and hoes is how Billy Mays rolls dog!

    Order now!

  • 2 Hide
    lejay , May 30, 2009 2:25 PM
    falchardI never wanted a Zune more.

    I kinda have... I wanted it more on Thursday. It's not that I don't want it today, I just wanted it more on Thursday. I guess it's because the weather is better today. Hmm, oh well.
    Glad I shared that with you, I bet.
  • -3 Hide
    Hatecrime69 , May 30, 2009 3:35 PM
    ugh!! Is this meant to help microsoft or apple here?
  • -3 Hide
    tipoo , May 30, 2009 3:49 PM
    WHY?!
  • -3 Hide
    verecky , May 30, 2009 3:53 PM
    "[• This story, marked with a • is weekend entertainment content only and should not to be considered factual ]"

    So is this story true or not?
  • 4 Hide
    justinblue , May 30, 2009 3:59 PM
    Hi,

    No, this article is entirely fake. I'm so sorry for the confusion. I am going to try to get the note saying it is fake to be made much more obvious.

    Justin
  • 1 Hide
    tipoo , May 30, 2009 4:08 PM
    justinblueHi,No, this article is entirely fake. I'm so sorry for the confusion. I am going to try to get the note saying it is fake to be made much more obvious.Justin



    Holly crap, you scared me!
  • 11 Hide
    m3kt3k , May 30, 2009 4:26 PM
    AND CALL NOW AND IT COMES WITH FREE THATS RIGHT FREE PAN FLUTE MUSIC.. A 19.99 VALUE. CALL NOW.
  • 2 Hide
    ravewulf , May 30, 2009 4:46 PM
    BILLY MAYS, PLEASE DO US ALL A FAVOR AND RETIRE ALREADY!

    (Yes, I am aware this is another wkend article, but seriously I change the channel anytime a commercial with him on it comes on)
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