Meet The Actors Behind Your Favorite Commercial Characters

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Many actors get their start in commercials. However, some stick around and become an acting legend in their own right. You know their catch phrases, products, and characters. But who really are the people behind your favorite commercial characters?

Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man

“He lives vicariously through himself,” “He has inside jokes with people he’s never met,” “In museums, he is allowed to touch the art,” “He is considered a national treasure in countries he’s never visited,” Who is this man? He is the most interesting man in the world, and he drinks Dos Equis beer. Jonathan Goldsmith played the most interesting man from 2006-2016. In 2016, he was replaced with younger actor Augustin Legrand. Goldsmith, however, also has over 100 acting credits to his name – maybe he is the most interesting man. 

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Magnum Ice Cream Commercial

Magnum Ice Cream is delectable no matter who they have on the commercial. However, the ice cream bars became even more desirable when Rachel Bilson became the face of the brand o ntheir commercials. Bilson has appeared on TV series such as ‘The O.C.”, “The 70’s Show”, “Hart of Dixie” and “Gossip Girl”. Her most recent role was as the reoccuring characer of Alyssa Greene on the hit series “Nashville”.

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GoDaddy Girl

GoDaddy is an Internet domain registrar and web hosting company. Besides from creating websites, they are also known for using beautiful women on their commercials. Danica Patrick was a big time endorser for many years. However, this woman was a little less known. This is actress Rachelle Wood. Wood has appeared on prodoctions such as “How I Met Your Mother”, “Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past”, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, and “Rules of Engagement”.

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Progressive’s Flo


Progressive’s Flo may be one of the most recognizable brand spokesperson. The bubbly and friendly salesperson for progressive insurance has stolen the hearts of millions. Since 2008, Flo, played by Stephanie Courtney, has appeared in over 100 commercials and has developed her own fan base. Her salary is $500,000 per year. Outside of commercials, she spends her time with an improv troupe.

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AT&T’s “It’s Not Complicated” Interviewer (Not Lily)


The inquisitive man in the suit questioning cute children, on the At&T commercials, is played by Beck Bennet. Bennet has said his AT&T commercials are  “like ‘The Colbert Report’ meets ‘Kids Say the Darnedest Things.’” We certainly couldn’t agree more. Bennet’s excellent performance is mainly due to his improv background. He currently is also a regular on Saturday Night Live.

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The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (Old Spice)


The “smell like a man, man” campaign was launched in 2010. The campaign was initially launched to promote the company’s new body wash, but due to its success, it has expanded to other products. The concept of the campaign is to target women who most likely make the shopping decisions, even on hygiene products. The man the company wants your man to smell like is played by Isaiah Mustafa. Mustafa is not only an actor but also a former NFL practice squad wide receiver.

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Orbit Gum Girl


“Dirty Mouth? Clean it up,” the pretty blonde would say as she appeared on your television screen. The “fabulous” woman is actually Vanessa Branch. Before her time working for Orbit Gum, from 2006-2010, Branch was crowned Miss Vermont and competed at the Miss America pageant in 1995. She has also had many other acting gigs, including one very famous one that you may have missed. She appeared in 3 of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies as Jack Sparrow’s jilted Tortugan lover, Giselle.

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Geico Caveman


Geico began advertising their caveman campaign in 2004. The premise of the advertisement is to show their website is “so easy, a caveman could do it.” However, this slogan upsets modern day cavemen who are actually rather intelligent men. The Caveman is portrayed by multiple people. However, John Lehr has appeared most frequently. Lehr has also had recurring roles on shows like 10 Items or Less and Quickdraw.

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GoDaddy With Bar Refaeli & The Nerd

Bar Refaeli stunned the world when she kissed “a nerd” in the 2013 GoDaddy Super Bowl commercial. The super model locked lips with on-screen nerd, played by Jesse Heiman, for 10 seconds out of the 30 second ad. Of course, it was rumored that Heiman wanted to keep doing takes after the commercial wrapped filming. Who wouldn’t want to kiss the beautiful Bar Refaeli?!

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Brown’s Chicken Commercial

Every actor has to start somewhere and for Steve Carrell that was in a Brown’s Chicken commercial. In the commercial, he plays a content employee of the fast food chain and explains how delicious their restaurant’s food is. Since the commercial Carrell has gone on to star in hit productions such as “The Office”, “Foxcatcher”, “The Big Short” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love”.

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The Pine-Sol Lady


Diane Amos has been portraying the Pine-Sol lady since 1993. She is able to connect to the audience as if she was a friend or family member giving us advice about “the power of pine-sol.” Aside from being the Pine-Sol lady, Amos is a stand up comedian and stage actor.She has also appeared in movies such as Patch Adams, Blue Jasmine, and Copycat. When she isn’t acting, she can be found doing lots of charity work.

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The T-Mobile Girl, Carly Foulkes


The beautiful brunette, in the pink and white summer dress, on the T-mobile commercials was played by Carly Foulkes. Foulkes signed with T-mobile in 2010, replacing Catherine Zeta Jones. In 2012, the company changed up her look to a black leather with pink trim outfit, and was often riding a Ducati motorcycle. The change was to coincide with the companies speed and capabilities of their 4G network. Unfortunately, Foulkes was dropped by T-Mobile in 2013. Before she was the T-Mobile girl, she was an editorial model.

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Allstate’s Mr. Mayhem, Dean Winters


Allstate’s Mr. Mayhem was originally pitched to company as character like Mr. White from the 1992 film Reservoir Dogs. Dean Winters was casted as Mayhem when the campaign first launched, in 2010. In every commercial, Mayhem explains the situation, the tragic outcome, and how “cut-rate” insurance policies won’t cover you. Aside from appearing in Allstate commercials, Winters had appeared in movies such as P.S. I Love You and John Wick.

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Verizon’s Test Man, Paul Marcarelli 


In 2002, Paul Marcarelli began portray Verizon Wireless’ Test Man. Verizon Wireless officially dropped the “Can you hear me now?” character in 2011. However, Marcarelli was happy for it to be over, as people would use his famous catch phrase on him during inappropriate times, including when his grandmother’s casket was being lowered in the ground. However, he surprised millions when he began appearing in Verizon Wireless’ competitor, Sprint, commercials, in 2016.

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PC From Apple’s “Get a Mac” Campaign, John Hodgman


The “Get a Mac” campaign consisted of many commercials, from 2006-2009, with similar storylines. The viewer is introduced to a man dressed in casual clothes known as Mac, and a man dress in formal business attire known as PC. The two banter about the advantages of a PC or Mac in front of a solid white wall. PC was played by John Hodgman. He may also be known for his comedic acts on The Daily Show.

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Ocean Spray Cranberry Farmers, Henry Strozier and Justin Hagan


The Ocean Spray cranberry farmers are played by Henry Strozier and Justin Hagan. The ads began running in 2005, and are shot in a real cranberry bog in Massachusetts. The older and wiser farmer, played by Strozier, and the younger klutzy farmer, played by Hagan, certainly do a great job convincing viewers of the natural juices put into Ocean Spray. Both have done acting work on TV and film outside the commercial.

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Discover Card’s Peggy, Tudor Petrut


Discover Card developed the character of Peggy. Peggy is actually a bearded man with an Eastern European accent, who wears a moth-eaten sweater. When customers call the customer service line of “USA Prime Credit,” Peggy answers the phone and is very unhelpful. This is to help show how helpful Discover Card can be to its customers. Peggy was played by Romanian actor Tudor Petrut, who used his native language in the commercial. Petrut has also appeared in various Romanian movies and TV shows.

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Life Cereal’s Little Mikey, John Gilchrist


Little Mikey was a young boy, played by John Gilchrist, who promoted Quaker Oats’ breakfast cereal, Life. The first commercial that featured Little Mikey debuted in 1972, and remained on TV for over 12 years. It is one of the longest continuously running commercials to ever to air. The most iconic commercial is where two brothers sit down to a big bowl of Life cereal. Unsure if they will like it, they have Little Mikey try, who of course loves it! As of 2012, John Gilchrist was the Director of media sales at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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KFC’s Colonel Sanders, Darrell Hammond


KFC has been using Colonel Sanders as its spokesperson since the company’s inception. The original Colonel Sanders did actually found KFC, and sold his recipe for the first time in 1952. Since then, KFC restaurants have expanded from the one original store in South Salt Lake, Utah, to thousands all over the U.S. Unfortunately, the original Colonel Sanders has passed so the restaurant has hired actors to play him. One of those actors is Darrell Hammond, who played the colonel from May-August 2015. Hammond is also a regular on Saturday Night Live.

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National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia’s Juan Valdez, Carlos Sanchez


Juan Valdez is the man you see is every commercial for National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. The character was first introduced in 1958, and still appears on current day commercials. Juan is usually portrayed with his mule Conchita, carrying sacks of harvested coffee beans. The character is used to promote coffee beans specifically grown in Columbia and convincing consumers of the benefits of those beans. Juan Valdez was portrayed by Carlos Sanchez for over 30 years.

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Maytag Appliance, Colin Ferguson


In 2014, Maytag officially retired their Maytag repairman, from their commercials, and brought in a younger model. However, the model is literally a younger, great looking man who plays the appliance and not the repairman. The Maytag appliances are now played by Colin Ferguson. A Creative Director for Maytag said, “He’s not the goofy, lovable, woe-is-me repairman, he actually is the Maytag appliance. We needed someone who physically and personality-wise better represented the machine … a manly, masculine man, who looks like he has strength and experience to him.” Ferguson has also had recurring roles on shows such as Eureka, The Vampire Diaries, and Haven.

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The Sham-Wow Guy, Vince Offer


Vince Offer is the king of the infomercial world. His products include the SHAMWOW, InVINCEable, SlapChop, Schticky and more, have sold millions internationally. His high-energy sale pitches are super convincing and certainly entice a viewer to watch until the end of the infomercial. Offer has also appeared in the films Underground Comedy Movie and The Inappropriate Comedy, which starred Adrian Brody, Rob Schneider and Michelle Rodriguez.

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Strawberry Fanta Of The Fantanas, K.D. Aubert


“Wanna Fanta! Don’t you wanna?” the sexy 4 females would sing on your TV screen. The Fantanas certainly knew how to convince you with their subtle dance moves and skimpy outfits. The original Fantanas portrayed the characters from 2002-2004. The original 4 were also featured in Maxim magazine. The Strawberry Fanta was played by K.D. Aubert. K.D. is also a model and actress. She co-hosted MTV’s Kidnapped and has appeared in several films and music videos.

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The Dell Dude, Ben Curtis


The Dell Dude was also known as Slacker Steve. Steve was created by Dell to reach the college-aged audiences, and convince them to buy a dell. His famous catch phrase “Dude, you’re getting a Dell,” was used after he had successfully convinced prospective buyers to purchase a Dell computer. Slacker Steve was played by Ben Curtis. Unfortunately, in 2003, Curtis was arrested for attempting buy a bag of marijuana and Dell dropped him from their commercials. However, that didn’t stop his acting career, and he has had roles on various TV shows.

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Sonic Drive-Thru Guys, T.J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz


The “Two Guys” featured in the Sonic drive-thru commercials are played by improv comedians T.J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz. Viewers have watched these two silly men’s debates and behaviors since 2002. Grosz, a native New Yorker, has appeared in various TV shows such as  “The Weather Man,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Veep.” He also won 2 Emmy awards for his writing on “The Colbert Report.” Jagodowski is originally from Massachusetts and has appeared in movies such as “Oz the Great and Powerful,” “Prison Break,” “The Ice Harvest” and “Stranger Than Fiction.”

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Red – The Wendy’s Girl, Morgan Smith-Goodwin

The slightly kooky, red head Wendy’s girl, known as Red, is played by Morgan Smith-Goodwin. Morgan actually dyed her hair from dark blonde to an orangey red. Nonetheless, she is still loved by many. She has helped many people find the perfect meal at Wendy’s. Before Morgan was Red, she had done some various stage roles, however, very little TV roles. Since becoming Red, she has landed a small recurring on the HBO series Veep.

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Ethel From Frank’s Red Hot, Jean Hamilton


In 2010, Frank’s Red Hot introduced the world to Ethel, an elderly and mischievous woman who likes to “Put That $#!t on Everything!” Ethel is played by Jean Hamilton, who was casted in the role, at the age of 86. Hamilton sees acting as the fifth job she has ever held, which is among positions such as social worker, income tax assessor and house-sitter. Frank’s Red Hot commercials with Ethel are still currently being aired.

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Six Flag’s Mr. Six, Danny Teeson


Who could forget Mr. Six? The old man, wearing thick glasses and a tuxedo, surprised viewers everywhere, when he began jumping around and dancing to Vengaboy’s “We Like To Party.” Mr. Six was hugely successful and did a national Six Flags tour and even appeared on Good Morning America. Since he first appeared in 2004, he has been played by actor Danny Teeson. Teeson has also worked on movies such as Get Him to the Greek and This Is 40.

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Toyota’s Jan, Laurel Coppock


Toyota dealership’s trusted and friendly receptionist is Jan. She is always ready to greet new customers and give them the down low on the latest Toyota vehicle. Jan is played by Laurel Coppock. When Laurel became pregnant in 2014, Toyota continued to use her and even debuted her pregnancy on Mother’s Day, which excited viewers everywhere. Aside from Toyota, Laurel has many other acting roles. She appeared in the film Crazy, Stupid, Love. and in TV shows such as The Office, Arrested Development and Hot in Cleveland.

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AT&T’s Lily Adams, Milana Vayntrub


Everyone’s favorite AT&T store representative is Lily Adams. The quirky saleswoman is played by Milana Vayntrub. She was originally casted to only be in one AT&T commercial. However, after such a positive reaction to her character, she has appeared in 40. She has also appeared on various TV shows, including the recent hit show This Is Us, as Sloane Sandburg.

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