Billy Mays – Mighty Putty Rhetoric

(Editorial Note: I know that this should be from a “preferably written” source, but I felt this option was too tempting to refuse. The script was certainly written anyway, like in a song.)

Modern day advertising is full of rhetoric, and Billy Mays is an icon of modern day advertising. His well known top volume voice and brown beard are a household image. In the script for Mighty Putty commercials, Mays uses rhetoric most interestingly to appeal to logic and emotion. The script is methodical but careful wording and the speakers abilities add a strong emotional power.

Mays gives much evidence as to the benefits of his product, Mighty Putty. He says Mighty Putter is not a glue, but a powerful epoxy, which can apply to almost any surface and form an “everlasting bond”. While at first glance this is a logical sentence, it has many emotional elements to it. The average viewer does not know what an epoxy is as compared to a glue, but it is stated as a confident fact so the viewer does not desire to question. He uses the hyperbole of an “everlasting bond” because it is more appealing to the human ear than giving a range of numbers. In his claim that Magic Putty can “fix and seal virtually anything fast, and make it last”, he uses rhyme to keep this main point in his audience’s head. Later he contrasts it to normal glues which he calls “a mixing mess” to Mighty Putty, which you “apply and let dry!”. The imagery is of course assisted by the video in the commercial, but there is certainly a negative connotation to the alliterative “mixing mess”. Later he says the product “has the muscle to support up to three hundred and fifty pounds.” His personification of the product brings strength to the mind of the viewer while telling them a factual specification. Using repetition and effective diction, he adds that “It has the strength to pull this fully loaded eighty-thousand pound tractor trailer. That’s the power of mighty putty!” He methodically lists, among other things, where it is useful, such as; tile to wood, metal to glass, cracks in ceilings, walls, and floors. After all, he says, “Any job big or small, mighty putty repairs them all!”


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