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The Strange And Wonderful World Of Vince Offer

I have to tip my hat to Vince Offer. The rising-star TV pitchman's weirdly, creepily fascinating delivery has surely brought more folks than would have thought themselves susceptible to such things perilously close to picking up the phone to say, "My goodness, I really do need a Shamwow in my life." The man may be a huckster, but he's a damn good one. No wonder Billy Mays himself is feeling the pressure.

But I'm not remotely tempted to buy Offer's latest product, the Slap Chop. For one thing, I've owned almost the same tool for about ten years (more specifically, the one he dramatically chucks over his shoulder in a perfect arc into the sink because of the Slap Chop's greater ease of cleaning, which is the only difference); he's not exactly revealing a new invention to the world. But the commercial is a gem of carnival-barker hyperbole and mesmerizing, wallet-loosening wordplay.

The genius therein, after the jump...

Clearly, whoever was responsible for the copy — whether it was some faceless ad execs in an office somewhere or, as it would seem, Offer himself just riffing off the top of his head — knew exactly what they were doing. Nobody as frattish as Offer announces "You're gonna love my nuts" or "We're gonna make America skinny again one slap at a time" without irony, and his statement that "You're gonna have an exciting life now" (thanks to your newfound ability to chop up eggs, pickle, green onion and ham all at the same time) is so disingenuous that it's clear that he has no illusions that you're buying his spiel. (Which, ironically enough, is exactly why it works.)

But the best part is when he's describing all of the things that the Graty cheese grater (yours free... with shipping!) can be used for: "Tacos, fettucini, linguini, martini, bikini." It's a telling moment, because in that moment, you can hear Offer effectively saying, "You are so thoroughly captivated by my rap by now that I can literally just say anything at all at this point, regardless of whether it has any relevance to the product or is just free-associative nonsense. Anything. It doesn't matter one bit." At that moment, Offer is so in the zone that he can go completely off the rails in the full awareness that his audience is prepared to follow him wherever he goes.

For better or worse, Mays has good reason to be on the defensive.

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