Billy Mays (born 1958) is a television commercial and infomercial salesman most notable for promoting OxiClean, OrangeGlo, and other cleaning, home-based, and maintenance products. His direct and "high energy" style and ubiquitous presence on many television commercials and home shopping channels pitching a wide array of products has gained Mays a small amount of celebrity.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, after graduating from high school, Mays began his career as a salesman on the Atlantic City boardwalk, selling the "Washmatik" portable washing device to passersby. Working alongside many seasoned pitchmen, he developed his trademark style of salesmanship. Mays later traveled to home shows, auto shows and state fairs across the United States for a period of twelve years selling various maintenance products and tools, including cleaning products and food choppers.
At a Pittsburgh home show in 1993, Mays struck up a friendship with rival salesman Max Appel, founder of Orange Glo International, a Denver-based manufacturer of cleaning products. He was then hired by the company to promote their line of cleaners, OxiClean, Orange Clean, and Orange Glo, on the Home Shopping Network in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Customer response to Mays' sales pitches were enthusiastic, with a drastic increase in sales after his first day on the network, although some reviews have been poor. For example, Washington Post staff writer Frank Ahrens called him "a full-volume pitchman, amped up like a candidate for a tranquilizer-gun takedown."
Following the success of the Home Shopping Network campaign, a line of successful television commercials and infomercials for the products were produced, featuring Mays demonstrating the effectiveness of the products to viewers hands-on. The success of these commercials led to Orange Glo International being named among the top ten privately growing companies from 1999 to 2001 by Inc. magazine, and its eventual buyout by Church and Dwight. Appel credited Mays' salesmanship for much of the company's success.
Mays is the CEO and founder of Mays Promotions, Inc., based in his hometown of Dunedin, Florida. His services as a pitchman became highly sought-after, and he has appeared in commercials for many diverse "as seen on TV" products. The commercials vary widely in cost, depending on factors such as how long and how complicated they are. Mays said a two-minute spot would cost $30,000 or more.