And "Sham" Is Right In the Title

I’m assuming that most of you have at some point come across the already-legendary Shamwow! commercials starring “comedian” Vince Offer. Teletoon Retro, a new channel where commercial time is apparently cheap, shows it just about every day. But in case you haven’t seen it, here it is, the low-budget commercial that is becoming our generation’s answer to the “I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up” ad from the ’90s.

It takes a special combination of elements for a low-budget commercial to become truly iconic. The product must be so useless, or such a needlessly complicated way of doing something you could do with another, better-known product, that you wonder if the whole thing is a deliberate joke (I’m still not actually sure if Shamwow! is real); the production values must be really, really low — a tip-off is the total lack of music in commercials like these, since music wasn’t in the budget — and it must be incredibly repetitive, hectoring you with the same information so many times that you feel like you’ve sat through an entire 30-minute infomercial. It really is an art form.

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.