Offer in July 2009
April 25, 1964
|Other names||Vince Shlomi, ShamWow Guy|
|Occupation||Salesman, screenwriter, film director, film producer, comedian, editor|
|Known for||Infomercial acting|
Melody Claire Mandate
(m. 2014; div. 2018)
Offer Shlomi (Hebrew: עוֹפﬧ שלוֹמי; born April 25, 1964), better known as Vince Offer, Vince Shlomi, "The ShamWow Guy", or "The Slap Chop Guy", is an Israeli-American infomercial pitchman, director, writer, and comedian. Offer's first major work was the 1999 comedy film The Underground Comedy Movie. Offer owns, produces, and appears in television commercials for his products "ShamWow!", an absorbent towel; the "Slap Chop", a kitchen utensil; a lint roller called the "Schticky"; a liquid cleaner called "InVinceable"; and another kitchen utensil called "Crank Chop". He has also officially advertised other products that he does not own, such as Quicky Grass.
In 1999, Offer directed and appeared in The Underground Comedy Movie, which was met with extremely negative reviews. DVDs of the film were marketed via television infomercial. The film also led to several lawsuits. Although the film was released and screened in 1999, Offer was bankrupt by 2002 and home video distribution plans were shelved. Offer, who had previously been a successful vegetable chopper salesman and businessman, resumed selling vegetable choppers at swap meets to support himself and raise money to complete his film project. Within a few months, he had earned enough to resume production, and the movie was finally completed, released, and marketed entirely on late-night infomercials that Offer paid for with his earnings from the swap meet vegetable chopper sales. The film has sold in excess of 100,000 copies and Offer has used the proceeds from sales to file a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. He is an ex-Scientologist.
In 2013, Offer released the universally panned InAPPropriate Comedy, which he directed, wrote and appears in as a character called 'Peeping Tom'. The film was originally envisioned as a sequel to his previous anthology, called Underground Comedy 2010. The film features stars Rob Schneider, Michelle Rodriguez, Adrien Brody, and Lindsay Lohan. Examples of film sketches include comedian Ari Shaffir as 'The Amazing Racist', with deliberately offensive hidden-camera encounters with members of different minority groups, and Brody as 'Flirty Harry', a Dirty Harry spoof.
Offer funded The Underground Comedy Movie with his own money, but had difficulty selling it. He put the trailer in an infomercial, and claims to have sold 50,000 copies via direct order and 50,000 more in stores. In 2010, he advertised Eminem's Recovery album.
In 2006, Offer began to market a cleaning product that he saw in flea markets, an absorbent towel that he called the "ShamWow!" The title of the product derives from the French pronunciation of the chamois, often shortened to "shammy" in English. Offer visited the factory in Germany where the product is made, and he decided to incorporate that fact into the TV pitch.
The advertisement, filmed in the summer of 2007 with a budget of $20,000, received critical praise. Slate.com's Seth Stevenson praised Offer for his "impressive and subtle mastery of the pitchman's art" (with lines such as "you know the Germans always make good stuff"), and wondered if Offer's "abrasive manner might also mark a unique, new strategy in the annals of pitchdom." Stevenson compared Offer to earlier, "more upbeat" television pitchmen like Billy Mays and the Home Shopping Network hosts and concluded that Offer's "smooth-talking condescension" was more suited to the present "zeitgeist" than the "earnest fervor" of spokesmen like Mays and Ron Popeil.
Consumer Reports reported that the infomercial for "ShamWow!" initially featured Offer claiming that the product held "20 times its weight in liquid". Later, the infomercial was changed to Offer claiming the "ShamWow!" held "12 times its weight in liquid", then again to "10 times". Consumer Reports did its own test on the product and found that it does indeed hold 10 times its weight in liquid but no more.
Offer says that he has sold millions of the towels. In contrast to claims that the absorbency of the towels are over-hyped, he responds that returns are low.
Pitchman Billy Mays had been promoting a similar product called Zorbeez two years prior to Offer's "ShamWow!" product. Mays noted that the "ShamWow!" commercials use many of the same product demonstrations as the earlier-produced Zorbeez commercial. In February 2009 while on the Adam Carolla radio show, Billy Mays publicly challenged Offer to a "pitch off" between their respective absorbent towel products. Popular Mechanics tested the absorbency of the two towel products and declared "ShamWow!" was the more effective of the two, but noted "If you have reusable cloth rags (and a roll of paper towels for backup), then neither product is necessary." During the episode, it was suggested that the Popular Mechanics tester did not use the Zorbeez correctly.
In December 2008, Offer, who had previously sold kitchen utensils at swap meets, appeared in another kitchen-gadget infomercial, advertising the Slap Chop and the Graty. The Slap Chop is a hand-held chopping device with internal blades; to operate it, the user places it over a food item and slaps down the button on the top. The Graty is a cheese grater operated by placing the cheese inside and then turning the outside housing of the utensil which causes the cheese to be grated. Both of these devices are offered in several colors. Offer's aggressiveness and use of double entendres like "you're gonna love my nuts" have been noted by AdWeek, and, according to an Adweek blog, helped make Offer "the man who could beat Billy Mays at his own game."
Billy Mays had been promoting a similar product set which included the Quick Chop utensil and the Quick Grater utensil prior to Offer's Slap Chop/Graty product set. Mays again noted that the Slap Chop commercials use many of the same demos as the earlier-produced Quick Chop commercial. Mays said in the same Adam Carolla radio show interview in February 2009 that Offer stole not only the Zorbeez product idea, but also the Quick Chop idea.
In 2012 Offer returned to television selling the "Schticky", a reusable lint roller that comes in three sizes: little Schticky, Schticky, and big Schticky.
The commercial makes many references to his other two commercials for the ShamWow and the Slap Chop, with Offer saying many of his catchphrases. He also pokes fun at his 2009 arrest by posing for a fake mugshot.
The Schticky commercial was co-written by the comedian Dante.
In 2013, Offer began a series of advertisements pitching a kitchen cleaner called "InVINCEable". He hoped that this product, the first one he developed himself, would be the start of a comeback. He also expressed interest in working as a TV producer for other salespeople.[deprecated source]
In April 2014, Offer appeared in a "Canada Green" commercial advertising their "Quicky Grass" product.
The Underground Comedy Movie was the subject of several lawsuits filed by Offer against others. On September 23, 1998, Vince Offer filed a suit against 20th Century Fox and Bobby and Peter Farrelly, the co-directors of There's Something About Mary. Offer claimed that 14 scenes in Mary were lifted from his film. The Farrellys released this statement: "We've never heard of him, we've never heard of his movie, and it's all a bunch of baloney." The case was dismissed with prejudice on a motion for summary judgment by order of the court in 2000, and Twentieth Century Fox was awarded $66,336.92 in attorneys' fees.
In 2004, Offer sent out a press release through prnewsonline.com announcing his intention to sue the Church of Scientology. In 1997, while production was ongoing, the Church of Scientology had allegedly begun a large-scale smear campaign against Offer and his film (Offer was a Scientologist at the time). The director claimed the Scientologists' "Celebrity Center" in Hollywood labeled him a "criminal" (based on the rules of Scientology) and threatened his Scientology friends in the movie business with "condemnation" punishment that could be lethal to their careers if they did not write malicious reports against Offer.
On February 7, 2009, Offer was arrested in Miami Beach, Florida on a charge of felony battery after an altercation with a 26-year-old prostitute. Offer contended that he struck the prostitute when she "bit his tongue and would not let go." Prosecutors later declined to file formal charges against either person.
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- Official Schticky website
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