When you think of famous actors, you usually think of those on the big screen or nightly TV shows. Some companies, however, have branded their company so well — through commercials — that some of these mascots are just as big as A-list celebrities. Who are they really though? Just as anyone else, these icons have lives outside TV land and have appeared in movies and shows. How many of these commercial characters have you recognized?
1. Verizon’s “Can You Hear Me Now” Guy – Paul Marcarelli
Paul Marcarelli, is also an actor and movie producer, having done a lot of work in documentaries like “The Royal Road.” Very recently, Paul premiered on another one of his classic solo ads. However, this time around he’s rolling with Sprint. Can you hear that?
2. Allstate Man – Dennis Haysbert
You probably recognize him either as the lovable (and terrifying) Pedro Serrano in “Major League” and “Major League 2,” or as the President of the United States that Jack Bower was always trying to keep from getting killed on “24.”
3. Pine-Sol Lady – Diane Amos
Even if you have watched an hour of TV in your entire life, you would have definitely seen this lady in the Pine-Sol ads.Diane has made a small name for herself in the world of film after starring in “Patch Adams,” “Angels in the Outfield,” and most recently, “Blue Jasmine.”
4. Progressive Insurance’s Flo – Stephanie Courtney
Courtney has played the voices of Renee the Receptionist and Joy Peters on “Tom Goes to the Mayor,” Marge on “Mad Men,” and Diane on “Caveman.” She has also appeared on “Men of a Certain Age.”
5. AT&T’s “It’s Not Complicated” Guy – Beck Bennett
Beck is featured player on Saturday Night Live, and is one of the strongest contenders to be promoted to cast member.
6. M&M’s – Billy West (Red) / JK Simmons (Yellow)
Billy West is perhaps the most successful voice actor this side of Mel Blanc and JK Simmons recently won an Academy Award for his performance in “Whiplash.”
7. Geico Caveman – John Lehr
While it may be hard to recognized him without his caveman costume, you can watch him in his latest movie “10 Items or Less.”
8. PC Guy – John Hodgman
One standout from Apple’s advertising campaigns was their personification of PC vs Mac, with the dull and boring John Hodgman contrasting to a more hip and cool Justin Long. The low key yet effective campaign ran from 2006 through 2010, and convinced many customers to “Get a Mac.” Hodgman is an author and humorist who had a recurring gig as a correspondent on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
9. Singer for FreeCreditReport.com – Eric Violette
Eric is from Canadia, and he has a band called God Against God. The band went on a memorable musical meme, hiring guitar-strumming singer Eric Violette and band to create casual catchy jingles through multiple musical themes. The broke hipster musician concept worked, and the campaign has been a big success.
10. Mr. Mayhem from Allstate – Dean Winters
Dean, more recently, has had roles in the sitcom “30 Rock,” as well as the dramas “Rescue Me,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” and “Oz.”
11. Toyota’s Jan – Laurel Coppock
Laurel has made appearances on “Arrested Development,” “The Office,” and “Modern Family,” as well as 2011’s hit film “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”
11. Orbit Gum Girl – Vanessa Branch
Prior to playing the Orbit Gum Girl, Vanessa was crowned Miss Vermont in 1994 and also competed in the 1995 Miss America Pageant. More recently, she played the character Giselle in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.
12. Ocean Spray Guys – Justin Hagan & Henry Strozier
Prior to Ocean Spray, Henry appeared in episodes of “Sex and the City,” and “Law and Order.” He is also an accomplished stage actor. As for Justin, he has appeared in a few television, short and full-length movies since Ocean Spray.
13. The Man Your Man Could Smell Like – Isaiah Mustafa
Before the Old Spice commercials, Isaiah was a football player for NFL Europe and attended practice squads for several US NFL teams. More recently, he played a small part in the first “Horrible Bosses” film.
14. Jake From State Farm – Jake Stone
Jake actually used to work for State Farm and his roommate convinced him into trying out for the role, sure enough he made it!
15. The Wendy’s Girl – Morgan Smith Goodman
You probably think Morgan Smith Goodwin was cast as the Wendy’s Girl because of her red hair. Actually, no– she’s naturally a dark blonde! The Wendy’s Girl or “Red,” as the character is known as, seems to evoke a grown-up version of the cartoon Wendy icon herself. Goodwin took over as the spokeswomen for the Wendy’s franchise shortly after Wendy, the daughter of the restaurant’s founder, had her brief stint as the face of the restaurant.
16. Subway’s Jared – Jared Fogle
Jared Fogle became an international sensation after losing a dramatic amount of weight and becoming the face of submarine sandwich chain Subway, but his fame quickly turned to infamy when in 2015 he was convicted of traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.
17. Lifecall “I’ve Fallen and I can’t Get Up” Lady – Edith Fore
Edith Fore rose to fame as the original older lady (who actually has a name – Mrs. Fletcher. After she passed away in 1997, she was replaced first by Dorothy McHugh and later by Bea Marcus.
18. Martin The Geico Gecko – Jake Wood
In the UK, Jake is one of the stars of the long-running soap opera “EastEnders.”
19. Pepsi Girl – Hallie Eisenberg
Hallie has been in a few movies since then, but you’re more than excused if you don’t recognize her based on what she looks like today.
20. AT&T’s Lily – Milana Vayntrub
An alumnus of the Upright Citizens Brigade, Vayntrub has appeared in a variety of comedy short films and has had small parts on several TV series.After her time in the commercial, she went from unknown to much more well-known thanks to more high-profile roles in television shows. When she isn’t working as an actress and comedian, Milana is an activist for refugees and uses her social media following and newfound fame to make sure the causes she holds near and dear to her heart get heard by others as well.
21. The Most Interesting Man In The World – Jonathan Goldsmith
Jonathan Goldsmith has had a long career in film and television, appearing in over 350 shows including Gunsmoke, The Rockford Files and Dallas. However, it is his classy role in the Dos Equis beer commercials that have been the highlight of his career.
22. GoDaddy Girl and Nerd – Bar Refaeli and Jesse Heiman
Back in 2013, model and actress Bar Rafaeli did the unthinkable during a Superbowl commercial for her new Go Daddy commercial. The insane scene in the 30-second spot was the 10-second long kiss that Bar shared with her on-screen nerd, Jesse Heiman. It took 60 takes to get this kiss perfect and following the commercial shoot’s wrap, rumors began to swirl that Heiman was the one trying to get more takes in! However, it was said that Bar wanted to keep going, too, until the shot was perfect. To the rest of the world, Heiman was one of the luckiest guys in the world for those 10 seconds.
23. Aflac Duck - Gilbert Gottfried
We all know that iconic, almost annoying voice from the Aflac duck. You may recognize Gilbert’s voice from Disney’s Aladdin, where he played the voice of the parrot Iago. Gilbert has been on Saturday Night Live, Duckman, The Fairly OddParents, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
24. Sham-Wow Guy – Vince Offer
Sham Wow is the amazing mop that does it all! Actor, director, comedian, and writer, Vince Offer, is the guy in the commercial who shows viewers what the mop can do, but he is also the owner of Sham-Wow. However, more recently, Offer was arrested on a felony battery charge following a violent confrontation with a prostitute in his South Beach hotel room.
25. Carl’s Jr. – Paris Hilton
Back in 2005, Paris Hilton appeared in the highly controversial Carl’s Jr.’s ad. The fast-food chain knew what would sell (and what would outrage certain people) and put Paris in their commercial where she chowed down on a burger while washing a car in a bikini.
26. T-Mobile – Carly Foulkes
One of T-Mobile’s most popular spokesperson was actress and model, Carly Foulkes. She brought more beauty to the commercial than needed but most people are certainly glad she did. Foulkes’ commercial had to do with the issue of texting and driving, an important issue in today’s society.