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
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 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
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
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.
5. Henry Strozier and Justin Hagan – Ocean Spray
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: