Shamwow vs. Zorbeez: Which works Better? As Seen On TV Lab Test
In a radio interview on Feb. 10, 2009, infomercial superstar Billy Mays claimed that the popular Shamwow has trod on the turf of Zorbeez, a super-absorbent towel he promoted in a separate infomercial about two years prior.
Zorbeez is the most absorbent towel in the world, Mays said in the interview. Vince, host of the Shamwow ad, has now "unleashed and woken up the sleeping giant," Mays said, suggesting the two settle the score via a "pitch-off." Mays predicted the outcome: "Shampow!"
Mays said Vince tried apologizing over e-mail, to which he replied, apology not accepted. "Don't knock Billy Mays off," Mays said. "Don't take my products. I take it personally. And I'm gonna take 'em back." He added, "Zorbeez was mine."
"Billy Mays doesn't take this," Mays said. "I am the ultimate pitchman."
In conclusion, Mays rapped, "I ain't the Beastie Boys or Run DMC. I'm Billy Mays, I'm gonna knock you … down to your knees!"
We put the rival rags head-to-head in a spill test of some blueberry beer we had lying around. We also soaked snow puddles and clocked drying times.
Shamwow, by a mile.
Immediately out of the package, the burnt-orange Zorbeez looked a bit listless compared to the vibrant Shamwow. It had probably been sitting on a shelf a bit longer—it is a few years past its infomercial prime—but even so, its fleecy surface sparkled like fiberglass insulation.
After the first champagne flute tipped, though, it became clear that the Zorbeez was outgunned on this one. The Shamwow soaked three paper towels' worth of blueberry beer on a single swipe, but the Zorbeez pushed the liquid off the edge of the table. We sopped and wiped with both sides of the Zorbeez, but a single stroke of the Shamwow chugged the beer with fratboyish speed. We threw each rag into two deck chairs wet with puddles of melted snow—the Zorbeez sloshed some out on the ground while the Shamwow sucked it up as if with a straw. Disclosure: we actually caught ourselves whispering "wow" while the Shamwow worked—and as our earlier tests proved, that's no guarantee.
The Zorbeez measures 19-1/4 x 27-1/4 inches. The Shamwow, at 19 x 23 inches, soaks more despite its smaller size. A cold-water rinse of the beer-soaked rags caused heavy saturation of the Zorbeez, but the Shamwow sprung back after wringing and seemed to have already shed most of the moisture. Dry times in the sun proved otherwise—after 5 hours in cool air, the Zorbeez had become dryer than the damp Shamwow, though neither clammy rag felt ready for storage. After one use, the Zorbeez began shedding fibrous blonde tufts, while the Shamwow retained its rubbery integrity. Both products smelled awful.
The Bottom Line:
If you have reusable cloth rags (and a roll of paper towels for backup), then neither product is necessary.
But we have a proper duel on our hands, and somebody's got to get "Shampowed." PM crowns Vince the new king of the rag ads. Sorry, Billy, but to the victor go the spills. —Harry Sawyers
Billy calls Vince out on the radio:
And a brilliant infomercial video editor reveals the eerie similarity between the Shamwow and Zorbeez ads:
Shamwow vs. Zorbeez: Which works Better? As Seen On TV Lab Test - Popular Mechanics
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