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10 Most Influential Pitchmen of the Decade


Not just anyone can be a convincing and successful pitchman. (Look no further than Luke Wilson’s AT&T commercials for proof.) The best pitchmen fall under three main categories: the average joe, the celebrity endorser, and the professional. Here are the decade’s top ten:

10. Bob – Bob’s Furniture

“My Bob’s,” “The Bob-O-Pedic,” and “I Doubt It” are all phrases that I can actually hear this expert pitchman say in his whiny pleas to shop his furniture emporiums.

9. Anthony Sullivan – Home Shopping Network

He starred in the Discovery Channel show Pitchmen, with Billy Mays. This video is awesome.

8. Terry Tate Office Linebacker – Reebok

The only pitchman with Super Bowl commercial origins to make the cut.

7. Dr. Robert Jarvik – Lipitor

He was important to the pitchman genre, if only because he almost brought it down in scandal. He was investigated by Congress for providing medical advice without a license, and the ad agency used a body double for the scenes of him rowing. The commercials were pulled from the air, and Lipitor’s next campaign had “real patients.”

6. Billy Mays – Oxiclean and Kaboom!

Once you get his voice in your head, I dare you to forget it. His commercials still run, which is slightly creepy, given he passed away this summer from heart disease, a problem that was exacerbated by his cocaine habit. This video show practice making perfect.

5. Vince Shlomi – Shamwow and Salad Chopper

I don’t know why this guy is successful. His droopy eye weirds me out. Also, his commercials still run, which is slightly creepy, given he was arrested this summer for beating up a hooker. Good thing he’s not as famous as Tiger, or who knows who would be around to shill for the Salad Chopper.

4. Mac and PC – Apple

“I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” is just an all-around great ad campaign. Both Apple and Windows have had plenty of other campaigns going over the past decade (cute Windows 7 kid, Theres a Map/App For That, aforementioned Luke Wilson ad) but these have consistently been the best. And for the record, I’m a PC.

3. Jared – Subway

I met Jared. My brother and I were auditioning for Season 3 of American Idol and they were filming a Subway commercial in the crowds of people sleeping outside the Javitz Center.

2. Cavemen, Gecko, Money Eyes, Mrs. Butterworth – Geico

Every pitchman from Geico is solid gold. Even the Cavemen. As a concept, I love the Money Eyes the best, but for a stand-alone commercial, the best Geico commercial comes from the “Real Customer” ad campaign.

1. Peyton Manning – Mastercard, Sprint, Sony, Gatorade, DirectTV, and Oreos

Peyton Manning takes the grand prize of all pitchmen. Typing in “Peyton Manning Commercial” into YouTube gets you 266 results. He is funny, self-deprecating, and earnest all at once. I love the Sony commercial on right now, where he refuses to give the aforementioned Windows 7 Girl his mallet in Whac-a-Mole, but my all-time favorite ad is this one for Mastercard.

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