12 Stars From Commercials – Who Are They Really?

Dean Winters - Allstate

Starring in TV commercials might not be as glamorous as a TV sitcom or movie career, but you can actually earn a really good living if you star in a popular commercial or even a set of commercials.

Some commercial actors and actresses end up becoming the official spokesperson for the company they are helping promote. Others end up transcending their role to become a talking point on our pop culture radars.

There are even some popular TV commercial actors and actresses who break the Hollywood barrier and end up with successful careers outside of commercial work.

Here are 12 actors and actresses who have become well known for their commercial work.

1. Paul Marcarelli – Verizon Wireless

Verizon Spokesmodel Paul Marcarelli

From 2002 through 2011 Paul Marcarelli was routinely seen on TV and internet ads as the Verizon Wireless employee who famously asked, “Can you hear me now?” His phrase because a pop cultural phrase. He became so popular that Marcarelli once joked, “I probably hold a world record for appearing in more airport selfies than anyone in history.” In 2016, Marcarelli announced that he had joined Sprint Wireless as its new spokesmodel.

Here’s one of his famous spots from 2009:

2. Dean Winters – Allstate

Dean Winters - Allstate

Dean Winters is best known for his work as Allstate’s “Mr. Mayhem.” In a hilarious set of commercial work he pretends to be the trouble that leads to your vehicle’s destruction. As a racoon, clueless teen driver, and various other road hazards, he has been delighting fans since 2010.

His work for Allstate has translated into some impressive appearances on the likes of 30 Rock, Rescue Me, and Law and Order: SVU.

He’s so popular that his Facebook page for “Mayhem” has more than 2 million likes.

Here’s one of his famous Allstate Mayhem spots:

3. Isaiah Mustafa – Old Spice Guy

Old Spice Guy


There may not be a more popular TV commercial series in the 21st century than the Old Spice spots featuring comedian Isaiah Mustafa. The commercial focused on mocking guys who feel the need to portray themselves as “manly men.” The tagline for the commercials is “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.”

Mustafa started his career as a football player before taking on a few small roles and eventually moving into the acting space.

The Old Spice commercials started in 2010 and they led to Mustafa receiving a talent deal with NBC. He would later appear on the hit series, “Chuck.”

Here’s one of his famous Old Spice TV spots:

4. Vanessa Branch – Orbit Gum

Vanessa Branch - Orbit Gum


Branch was the face of Orbit Gum from 2006 to 2010. Her British accent and perfect smile made her a household figure. She was rumored to have received a lifetime supply of gum for her work with the company.

Branch is actually American but was born in England which allowed her to fake a British accent to perfection.

Branch managed to score some decent roles thanks to her celebrity. She played a wench on the hit movie Pirates of the Caribbean and she landed roles on Gilmore Girls and Lost. 

Here’s a cool fact — Branch speaks fluent Chinese which has helped her land several roles in Chinese produced films.

Here are one of her famous Orbit Gum commercials:

5. Henry Strozier and Justin Hagan – Ocean Spray

Ocean Spray Guys

These guys got famous by playing a veteran farmer and their clumsy farm hand. The commercials were funny and simple — with the two men standing waist deep in a cranberry bog in Carver, Massachusetts.

The famous couple have been hawking Ocean Spray since 2005.

Storzier, the older of the two, appeared in such films as The Pelican Brief and Contact. Hagan appeared in Party Monster. 

Here’s one of their popular Ocean Spray commercials:

6. Eric Violette – FreeCreditReport.com

Eric Violette - Free Credit Report

Eric Violette is the singer of the edgy rock band God Against God, but for a while he was paying his bills as the lead singer of a fake FreeCreditReport.com band.

His FreeCreditReport band created catchy jingles for the credit reporting company but the music is far more folk driven than his real life jams.

Here’s an interesting fact, he’s a French Canadian singer so his voice was actually dubbed. He’s basically the Milli Vanilli of TV commercials.

Here’s one of his fun commercials:

7. Beck Bennet – AT&T

Beck Bennett ATT

Beck Bennet is a current cast member on Saturday Night Live and he worked on Arrested Development. Before and during those roles he was also a very popular spokesmodel for AT&T.

He was the guy who told children “it’s not complicated” as he explained the company’s calling plans.

Among his famous lines are “more is better than less” and “bigger is better than smaller”.

He improvised most of his lines like only a skilled veteran comedian could do.

Here’s a bunch of his AT&T commercial work:

8. Diane Amos – Pine Sol

Pine Sol Lady - Diane Amos


Diane Amos isn’t as well known by name as some of the other actors and actresses on our list, but she is recognized for keeping our homes smelling Pine Sol fresh.

She has been the face of the product for more than 20 years, starting out in a commercial way back in 1993.

You might not be aware that she is also a comedian and makes regular appearances on various game shows.

9. Stephanie Courtney – Progressive Insurance

Stephanie Courtney - Progressive Insurance


Flo the Progressive lady has been an official spokesmodel for the company Since 2007. Flo is portrayed by comedienne Stephanie Courtney.

Flo is always willing to help customers, sometimes with a bit too much enthusiasm that is oddly infectious when it should be annoying.

While Flo has a massive following on social media, Courtney says she is rarely recognized on the street. Probably because her character is adorned with retro makeup and a funky outfit.  arge on

Her success allowed her to land the role of Marge on Mad Men. She has also had some other bit roles on TV.

10. Morgan Smith Goodwin – Wendy’s

Morgan Smith Goodwin - Wendys

Morgan Smith Goodwin has red hair in her Wendy’s commercial but she is actually a dark blonde. Producers hired her and then had her hair colored to match the fast food chains famous mascot.

Wendy’s calls her character “Red,” and she was created to evoke a response to the company’s original Wendy’s girl.

Here’s one of her commercials. We think she will tempt you to try a delicious Wendy’s salad:

11. Jake Stone – State Farm

Jake Stone - State Farm

Apparently if you want to become “TV commercial famous” your best shot is working with an insurance company. Jake Stone plays “Jake from State Farm.”

In his first commercial in 2011, he reached pop culture fame when confronted by a suspicious wife who catches her husband whispering on the phone in the middle of the night.

He became so famous that death hoaxes started popping up on Twitter — a true sign you have “made it” in some way as a celebrity.

He’s actually a bartender in Normal, Illinois. State Farm is located in the twin cities of Bloomington/Normal.

Here’s his regularly played TV spot:

12. John Hodgman and Justin Long – Apple

Hodgman and Long - TV Spot

John Hodgman plays the role of a “PC” in a set of Apple TV commercials that dominated the airwaves from 2006 to 2010. He starred in the commercials alongside Hollywood star Justin Long who took on the role of an Apple computer.

In his role, Hodgm107 – Already Done in Brax under “70 stars
an played a computer that was constantly failing to operate as promised. Justin Long played a Mac who was worried about their PC friends operating condition.

Hodgman is an author and humorist who regularly appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Justin Long has become a Hollywood actor with various roles under his belt.

Here’s one of the famous Apple commercials starring both of the actors:

It’s really amazing how some commercial actors have been able to penetrate our pop cultural landscape with 30 seconds of TV airtime. Some never find much success outside of the advertising space while others have parlayed their successes into some amazing TV and movie careers in Hollywood.
Share your favorite character with your friends and let us know which TV spot is your favorite.