One of the pioneers of the TV-infomercial, Barry Becher passed away. In the 1970′s, he and his partner Ed Valenti created those wacky Ginsu knife infomercials. You remember them, don’t you? The ad opened with a man breaking boards with a karate chop.
The voice over says, “In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife. But this method doesn’t work with a tomato.” And thus, the Ginsu knife was born and millions were sold.
Here’s the original ad, which first aired in 1978.
The best part about the campaign? The knives were actually made in Ohio. Yep, that’s right. Becher once told a reporter, “Who would buy a set of knives made in Ohio? We had to add some mystery. We thought about where we could say they came from.”
The second best part about the campaign? The word “Ginsu” doesn’t mean anything. It was made up, right out of the minds of Becher and Valenti.
Becher said, “It doesn’t mean anything in any language. We like to say that it means, ‘I never have to work again.’”
So long Barry. Rest in peace. You were a genius.