Whenever we watch television shows, we would be exposed to tons of different commercials. While most of us flip through channels when commercials are being aired, some find watching these TV ads just as entertaining as the regular programming. Along the way, they also find appealing characters in their favorite commercials, and TV viewers may identify themselves with them and think that the product won’t be the same without that particular endorser!
You see, that’s the objective of every company and advertising agency — to be able to find someone who can (and will) instantly establish a connection to their audience. And these TV commercial stars are proof of their ad campaign’s success!
While many famous celebrities got their start from appearing in commercials, others became accomplished in other career paths. Other people have already carved a name in show business but somehow found bigger fame by appearing on commecials. How many of them do you remember?
1. Dos Equis beer commercial
The producers behind the Dos Equis beer commercial initially wanted someone young to endorse the product. However, they settled with actor Jonathan Goldsmith when his wife and manager recommended him to them. She said if the producers were to cast someone to play as “the most interesting man in the world,” they should choose a man with more (as well as more interesting) experience and superhuman exploits — thus, someone that everyone should look up to. And she wasn’t wrong!
When Dos Equis finally released their ad campaign, it featured the silver-haired and bearded Goldsmith as “The Most Interesting Man in the World” The ad campaign became hugely successful and led to the siginificant jump in Dos Equis beer sales. More importantly, Goldsmith’s fame as “The Most Interesting Man in the World” launched several thousand Internet memes.
2. Pine-Sol commercial
You’ve seen the familiar no-nonsense home maker who appears in Pine-Sol commercials. Diane Amos has been portraying the character since the early 1990s. Although the actress has appeared in various TV and movie roles, her stint as the Pine-Sol lady is the one that a lot of people would mostly remember.
3. Orbit Gum commercial
Remember the pretty blonde lady with a blue scarf? Remember her lines ‘Dirty mouth? Clean it up!” too? If you vividly recall her, we’ll let you know just in case you wonder who’s the Orbit Gum gal in real life. Vanessa Branch is her actual name. In case you don’t know about her, she is actually an actress and a beauty queen, as she used to compete in many beauty pageants that include Miss Vermont (where she was crowned) and Miss America during the 1990s. She also has some acting stints under her belt, including three Pirates of the Caribbean movies. And Branch is a lover of foreign languages too, being fluent in French and Mandarin.
4. Progressive Insurance commercial
Progressive’s friendly, smiling and bubbly salesperson Flo is played by actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney. She has starred in over a hundred commercials since 2008. Behind the small screen, Courtney is busy doing sketch comedies and improvs.
5. AT&T commercial
The poker-faced guy in the sharp suit who asks different questions to several kids on the AT&T ads is portrayed by Beck Bennet. If Bennet looks familiar to you, you may have seen him on the sketches of Saturday Night Live. In addition, he has also appeared on other other shows such as the now-defunct series Arrested Development and movies like Zoolander 2.
6. Discover Card commercial
You may have seen a series of hilarious Discover Card commercials featuring the character Peggy, the bearded Eastern European man in a holiday sweater who speaks in a strongly-accented English. He works at the the fictional “USA Prime Credit” help center and takes calls from the customers. But he offers little help, which goes on to show that how the Discover Card can be helpful to its customers.
The man behind the characater Peggy is Romanian algebra teacher Tudor Petrut — so yes, Peggy’s foreign accent is indeed real! Petrut has also landed on acting roles in his native country. He is currently based in California.
7. Ocean Spray commercial
Remember the series of Ocean Spray commercials? They feature two cranberry farmers standing in an actual sea of cranberries, which demonstrates that Ocean Spray uses only the most natural of ingredients in their fruit products. The two farmers are portrayed by Justin Hagan and Henry Stroizer, both of whom have done acting work on other TV and movie stints.
8. Life Cereal commercial
Quaker Oats’ breakfast cereal, Life, first aired a TV commercial which featured Little Mikey in 1972. The Life Cereal commercial would go on for over 12 years, making itself one of the most iconic and longest-running ads in American TV history.
In the commercial, two brothers see a bowl of cereal in front of them. They know that the cereal is supposed to be healthy, but both are hesitant to try it. So they get their little brother Mikey to try the cereal and push the bowl in front of him, saying that he “hates everything.” But to their surprise, it turns out that Mikey loves the cereal!
Little Mikey was played by John Gilchrist. His two on-screen brothers were, in fact, his real-life brothers. So where is Gilchrist nowadays? According to some reports, the not-so “Little Mikey” currently works at a media firm in New York.
9. KFC commercial
KFC founder Colonel Sanders had been the company’s spokesperson since its inception. But when Sanders died in 1980, KFC began to hire actors to portray him and has done so since. One of the actors is Saturday Night Live regular Darrell Hammond, who took the role of the Colonel in 2015.
10. Dunkin’ Donuts commercial
The 80s and 90s kids may probably recall the sleepy-eyed Fred the Baker and his catchphrase “Time to make the donuts.” He was portrayed by the late actor Michael Vale (1922-2005), who went on to play his most iconic role until his retirement in 1997.
11. LifeCall commercial
“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” is one of the most famous catchphrases in American TV ad history. It was uttered by a elderly woman who suffered a hip injry. She was portrayed by Edith Fore, who sadly had passed away in 1997. Even though she is long gone, she will always be fondly remembered by her famous line.
12. Geico commercial
The series of hilarious Geico commercials feature a premise that says “So easy, even a caveman could do it.” But this catchphrase upsets intelligent and sophisticated modern cavemen who think it as an insult to their kind. Although several people played the Geico cavemen, actor John Lehr portrayed the part most often. He has played in films and television as well as on stage. These commercials, obviously, became a hit among audiences.
13. Corn Pops commercial
Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul has certainly come a long, long way from his early beginnings in show business during the 1990s. Like many other popular Hollywood celebs, Paul got his start by starring in commercials and music videos. One of them is the Corn Pops way back in 1999, and if fans weren’t born yet by the time the commercial was aired, they can check it out on YouTube! Paul also starred in campaigns for Vanilla Coke and Juicy Fruit.
14. Virgin Mobile commercial
It may only be fitting that Virgin Media tapped “the world’s fastest man” Usain Bolt to endorse Virgin Mobile’s Internet broadband service. Well, the company should keep their premise that their Internet service is as mighty fast as this legendary Olympic sprinter!
15. Coppertone commercial
Academy Award-winning actress and director Jodie Foster was meant to have a career in showbusiness, which started when she appeared on Coppertone commercial when she was only three years old.