The Pasts and Paychecks of Your Favorite Ad Faces

When the commercials come on, most people turn to their phones or each other, to try and forget about the boring, unfunny, and board-room developed advertisements that people who wouldn’t know foreshadowing from en media res are hoping you take to heart. Sometimes, however, a friendly face jumps out at us. Sometimes they even make a lasting impression on us.
 
Even more shocking is just how much money some of these people can bring in the big bucks – and they even have names and lives of their own. Here are a few names you may or may not recognize, but you’re almost certainly aware of the ad campaigns they helmed.

The AT&T Woman

Real Name : Milana Vayntrub
Salary Deal : $500,000
Milana Vayntrub has been making waves recently as the pretty and smiling Lily Adams from AT&T commercials, but she’s had plenty of other roles. Her very first was in a Barbie commercial at just five years old, in order to help support her family – they had moved to Hollywood from Uzbekistan, and were in dire financial straits.

 

She’s also appeared in the web series Let’s Talk About Something More Interesting, as well as the Yahoo! series Other Space. She also enjoys appearing in short art project films. Financial straits are long gone thanks to AT&T, who have Vayntrub on a deal worth $500,000.

The Maytag Man

Real Name : Colin Ferguson
Salary Deal : $1 million
Colin Ferguson has a widely-recognized name and face, and not just as the Maytag Man. He has played Sheriff Carter on Eureka , and Lewis on the sitcom Then Came You . He’s also starred in The Vampire Diaries , as well as several Lifetime Christmas movies such as Christmas in Paradise , alongside Charlotte Ross.

 

He became the face for the appliance company Maytag in 2014, and has shot commercials with them ever since. His salary deal has been reported at a million dollars. He’ll get you the appliances you need to bake fresh cookies or keep your laundry clean.

Mr. “Dumass”

Real Name : Stu Williams
Salary Deal : $50,000
It’s pronounced Doo-mahs, trust us. It’s French. In the A&W Root Beer commercial, Mr. Dumass is a young interviewee who keeps mispronouncing (guess how) the name of the man who is interviewing him. The commercial aired during a Super Bowl in the early nineties.

 

Surprisingly, Williams has fond memories. He got a $50,000 salary for filming, and has also uploaded the video to his personal Youtube channel, where it has gained a pretty high following. It’s a clever commercial that has a nice ending, too: the boss goes to his secretary shaking his head, and says “What a dumbass.” Thankfully, our root beer tastes great, or something.

The Dr. Pepper Girl from the 60’s

Real Name: Donna Loren
Salary Deal : $500
Donna Loren is one of the most well-known female vocalists of all time, and Pepsi was able to grab her early on in her career; they signed her for a paltry salary of only $500. Pretty quickly her career took off, getting more and more vocal and acting roles, but she never gave up commercials.

 

She modeled as a teenager for hats, makeup, dental care, and exercise products – anything that could feature that pretty face. Her other national ad campaign was the “If I Can Sew, You Can Sew” campaign for Simplicity Pattern Company. It might be even more famous than her Dr. Pepper campaign.

Pepperidge Farm Farmer

Real Name : Charles Welch
Salary Deal : $200,000
The name Charles Welch may not ring many bells, but he’s a talented theater actor who has worked with famous names such as Sammy Davis, Mary Tyler Moore, and Angela Lansbury. He’s made more than four hundred television appearances, including on General Hospital , and Days of Our Lives .

 

But, his most famous role is as Titus Moody, the Pepperidge Farm Farmer, for a salary of $200,000. The farmer remembered the old days, with tasty Pepperidge Farm Cookies and confectionery treats. Welch is reported to be surprised at how famous and well-known the character became. Famous enough for a Family Guy joke, at least.

The T-Mobile Girl

Real Name : Carly Foulkes
Salary Deal : $1 million
How did Foulkes become the T-Mobile Girl? By answering a random ad in 2009. She became a staple of the commercials, for some reason wearing pink and white biker gear, in the ads the brand put out between 2010 and 2013. She’s made some guest appearances since then, and is still part of the “brand family.”

Getty Images Photo by Jamie McCarthy

Her deal brought her a cool million. An interesting fact – the bright pink color Foulkes and other faces of T-Mobile wear is actually a trademarked shade, as it is part of their corporate marketing plan. No imitations here.

The Pillsbury Doughboy

Real Name : Paul Frees
Salary Deal : $1 million
For a salary of one million big ones, Paul Frees brought his talent as a man of many voices to Pillsbury, appearing in plenty of ads as the little white creature in the 1960s. Famous for his voice-acting prowess, Frees was born in Chicago in the 1920s, and was married to actress Beverly Marlow until he passed in 1986.

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There are plenty of places you’ll recognize Frees: Rudolph & Frosty, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, and Jack Frost. All Christmas movies, yes, but he’s done plenty of others, including acting in A Place in the Sun in 1951. But we’ll always know him for his cheerful chuckle and delicious bakery treats.

The Slingers (Husband)

Real Name : Nick Offerman
Salary Deal : $50,000
You know Offerman from his famous role as “Ron Swanson” on Parks & Rec , but he’s also appeared alongside his wife Megan Mullally in Sling TV’s “We are Slingers” ad campaign. Don’t expect a gruff attitude this time, though – his Slingers character is quite a bit more easygoing than Swanson.

 

For a $50,000 deal, Offerman offered his likeness and acting prowess for a multi-media campaign, which appeared not only on TV but also in social media and print. Sling TV is a Dish Network subsidiary, a live-streaming service founded in 2015. It’s been going through quite a bit of aggressive rebranding, which Offerman has been assisting.

47 Partnership for a Drug-Free America’s Bad Dad

Real Name : Reid Maclean
Salary Deal : $10,000
The famous father-son duo who introduced one of the most cringeworthy commercial…taglines? Can we call it a tagline? One of the most famous commercial lines (“I learned it from you!”) was actually quite dramatic and memorable at the time. The dad was played by Reid Maclean, who got ten thousand dollars for his role.

 

Hopefully, a “bad dad” isn’t the only reason you know about Maclean. He is also a singer, and has starred in movies like The Winter of the Beard and Gettysburg. His music collection, Bright Fading Star, covers extensive topics, from bad habits to the Civil War, and tenth-grade girlfriends.

Viewfinder Girl with Henry Fonda

Real Name : Jodie Foster
Salary Deal : $2,000
Who could that precocious child be using the Viewfinder with Henry Fonda? Why, it’s only two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster, who had one of her very first times in front of the camera with none other than Hollywood royalty Henry Fonda. Foster was only halfway to ten.

 

Foster’s very first time was when she was just three years of age, appearing as the Coppertone girl. While Viewfinder was high-tech at the time, it’s become obsolete thanks to things like the internet and mobile phones. On the other hand, Coppertone continues to shield people from the killer rays of the sun. Jodie earned a pretty easy $2,000 for working with Fonda.

Max Headroom

Real Name : Matt Frewer
Salary Deal : $100,000
The creepy AI character Max Headroom came from the head of Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, and was played by actor Matt Frewer. It has a stuttering, distorted voice as well as plenty of witty remarks, and first appeared in the “20 Minutes into the Future” commercial, in 1984.

 

While Max Headroom was a short-lived show, he also appeared in this Coke commercial, and the character also appeared in the 2015 movie, Pixels. Frewer received $100,000 for his spot. The name came from journalist Edison Carter, who saw the words “MAX. HEADROOM: 2.3 M”, moments before slipping into a coma.

Ronald McDonald

Real Name : Willard Scott
Salary Deal : $10 million
For a whopping ten million dollars, radio personality Willard Scott played the burger chain’s famous mascot starting in 1963, filming three different spots and growing McDonald’s into the mega-industry we know today. Scott had plenty of experience under the greasepaint, playing the role of Bozo the Clown for his radio station in Washington D.C. from 1959 to 1962. His clowning caught the eye of McDonald’s ad execs.

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The McD’s clown was originally known as “The Hamburger Happy Clown,” and it was a lot more colorful and energetic than the version we know of today. At least the current version doesn’t have a cup for a nose. Or looks like a creepier version of Jigsaw from the famous Saw films.

“Air Jordan” and “Hare Jordan”

Real Name : Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny
Salary Deal : $1 million
No one expected these two greats to meet in a commercial, but then again no one expected Space Jam to turn into one of the most memorable films of the nineties. These two famous names appeared in a Nike commercial in 1992, as Jordan promoted his latest line of shoe. Bugs was there just to help out.

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Jordan made $1 million just for this one ad, but that’s peanuts compared to how much Jordan has made with his collaboration with Nike – all told, somewhere in the area of $1.2 billion. His first style came out in 1982, and there are more every year.

Bush’s Baked Beans Guy

Real Name : Jay Bush
Salary Deal : $1 million
While the handsome Golden Retriever, Duke, might be getting more air time, Jay Bush was the original face of Bush’s Baked Beans. Jay gets a yearly salary of one million dollars, and since the ads have been airing since the nineties, that’s quite a lot of beans. The ads now feature Jay’s son “Bean Boy”, and multiple different dogs have played Duke.

 

Jay is the grandson of the Bush founder. That family recipe is staying safe no matter what, since Jay has a vested interest in protecting his grandfather’s legacy. Even as late as 2018, Jay is taking no chances in the commercials.

The Red Robin Lady

Real Name : Melanie Paxson
Salary Deal : $50,250
Paxson is a commercial veteran, appearing in commercials for Gladware before Red Robin got their mitts on her. She was born in Illinois and acted for the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and has been onscreen since the 1990s, appearing in Early Edition and starring as Jaclyn in Cupid from 98-99.

 

She’s also been in The Drew Carey Show, Joey, Kitchen Confidential, CSI, Rules of Engagement, The Exes, and Medium. She currently has a recurring role in the NBC show Happy Family, as “Sara Brennan.” Her current deal with Red Robin is a little over $50,000.

Hot Construction Worker Drinking Diet Coke

Real Name : John Vanous
Salary Deal : $1 million
With just one shirtless scene, John Vanous turned the commercial world upside down in 1994, appearing as a hot construction worker who takes a break to crack open a Diet Coke, catching the eye of the ladies in the office building nearby – a spoof on the often-mocked and very much overdone “hot girl” ad campaigns.

 

Vanous is now 58, and has shot several commercials for Coke. He served in the US army before starting as a model in New York. He’s appeared in a number of non-commercial projects, including 18 Wheels of Justice as “Chance Bowman” and Pacific Palisades as “Matt Dunning.” Vanous got a million dollars for cracking a Coke and looking good.

The Dell Computer Dude

Real Name : Ben Curtis
Salary Deal : $50,000
Known only as the Dell Dude, Benjamin Curtis was born in Tennessee and starred in a series of well-received, though now quite outdated, commercials for Dell. He managed to get the role despite being three years over the age range Dell wanted. He popularized the saying “Dude, you’re getting a Dell,” which tells you what era of recent history this ad series ran. His contract ended in 2003, but he received a $50,000 salary.

 

Actor fact: Before he even started as an actor, Curtis was an incredibly talented magician. Since ending with Dell, Curtis has had plenty of roles, though all of them fairly brief.

Little Mikey from Life Cereal

Real Name : John Gilchrist, Jr.
Salary Deal : $10 million
Mikey didn’t like anything. Nothing, that is, except for Life Cereal. John Gilchrist, Jr. appeared with his real-life brothers in the ad, which shows the picky Mikey enjoying a new cereal in one of the most famous ads ever. It won an award in 1974, and in 1999, TV Guide ranked it in the top ten commercials of all time. In a survey, an astounding seventy percent of adults recognized it just from the description alone.

 

But how much did little Mikey earn from this record-breaking ad? A record-breaking amount: A ten million dollar deal landed John Junior in the money. Remember, that was back in the seventies – the same deal is worth a mind-boggling fifty-eight million in today’s money.

The “That’s a Spicy Meatball” Guy

Real Name : Jack Somack
Salary Deal : $10,000
Born in 1918 in Chicago, Jack Somack is not only known for the few classic movies he’s appeared in, but also for this famous ad, which has him appear as the Italian man who exclaims in a bright manner: “Mamma mia, that’s a spicy meatball!” for ten grand.

 

It was a slogan for Alka-Seltzer – after a spicy meatball, you might have heartburn. Somack’s movies include The Frisco Kid, Sanford and Son, Carlton Your Doorman, Desperate Characters, Portnoy’s Complaint, and more. He passed away in 1983, but we will always remember him for his work, and for telling us just how spicy that meatball is. RIP.

The Target Lady

Real Name : Maria Bamford
Salary Deal : $300,000
Maria Bamford wears plenty of hats in the entertainment industry, including as a stand-up artist, a voice actress, and a film actor. Her first comedy album was ‘The Burning Bridges Tour’, and four years later ‘How to WIN!’ followed. Her first movie role was Lucky Numbers, in 2000, before she switched to voice-acting.

 

Her Target deal brought in $300,000, but you might be more familiar with the variety of animated voices she has provided, including American Dad!, Bojack Horseman, CatDog, and Adventure Time. In 2015 she was in the movie Hell & Back.

The Noxema Girl with Joe Namath

Real Name : Farrah Fawcett
Salary Deal : $10,000
With world-famous feathered hair and piercing blue eyes, Farrah Fawcett has been drawing love-struck looks since the seventies. She famously appeared in a commercial for Noxzema, a shaving cream, alongside famous NFL quarterback Joe Namath (who bore the nickname “Broadway Joe”). The tagline was “Let Noxzema cream your face” and yes, they did know.

Getty Images Photo by Leigh Vogel

Fawcett was in the famous Charlie’s Angels television show, as well as movies such as Cannonball Run, Extremities, Burning Bed, and Small Sacrifices. But this campaign may have been her most lucrative deal, earning her $10,000 per commercial. She stuck to feature films and TV after the commercials, though, perhaps embarrassed.

FedEx’s Fast-Talker

Real Name : John Moschitta
Salary Deal : $3 million
Famous motormouth John Moschitta has a famous, unique talent: he can speak at a rate of 586 words per minute. While he held the world record for World’s Fastest Talker in the eighties, the record has been broken a few times – though Moschitta debates the legitimacy of the new records.

 

Moshcitta was not only the lightning-fast pitchman for FedEx’s rapid delivery service, he is also the famous speedy talker for Micro Machines in more than a hundred commercials. He has also voiced Blurr in the Transformers movies, and has directed two straight-to-video movies. FedEx had him on salary for three million dollars. A high price – but fast talkers aren’t a dime a dozen.

The “It’s Not That Complicated” Guy

Real Name : Beck Bennett
Salary Deal : $250,000
Beck Bennett knew acting was for him when he performed in a children’s theater in his hometown. He’s known for his roles on Saturday Night Live as a regular cast member, but before that he appeared in the “It’s Not That Complicated” AT&T commercials, for a total salary deal of $250,000.

 

During that same time he created sketch videos with “Good Neighbor”, a comedy group, and had roles in Theatre of Life, which are available on Youtube. He began acting on Saturday Night Live in 2013, thanks to his skill at humorous impressions.

The Wendy’s Girl

Real Name : Morgan Smith-Goodwin
Salary Deal : $3 million
Morgan Smith-Goodwin is the “Wendy’s Girl” (known as “Red”), but she’s actually a born blonde. She dyes her hair for the ads, and for good reason: Morgan brought in $3 million for appearing as the face of the international fast food chain.

 

Born in Alabama, Smith-Goodwin moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting, appearing in benefits, concerts, and free readings before an Off-Broadway role in Freckleface Strawberry as an original cast member. She was also the lead in Sweet Charity and Circumstance.

The Slingers (Wife)

Real Name : Megan Mullally
Salary Deal : $50,000
Megan Mullally plays Offerman’s on-screen wife in the Slingers commercials, which makes a lot of sense because they’re married in real life. She’s an actress and comedian who has also appeared in Parks & Rec as a vengeful librarian, Tammy 2, who was Ron Swanson’s ex-wife. Just like her husband, Sling has Mullally salaried for $50,000.

 

Mullally and Offerman married in 2003. Before she appeared on Parks & Rec Mullally had a recurring role as Karen Walker in the sitcom Will & Grace on NBC. She’s been nominated for an Emmy eight times, winning twice (2000 and 2006).

Charmin’s Mr. Whipple

Real Name : Dick Wilso
n Salary Deal : $300,000
Stuffy store manager Mr. Whipple was constantly scolding shoppers for squeezing the ultra-soft Charmin toilet paper for years. Actor Dick Wilson – born in England in 1916 – brought in a total of $300,000 during his time as the recognizable character, and appeared in over five hundred commercials for the brand.

 

The commercials also frequently included young stock boy Adam Savage, long before he was a mythbuster. Mr. Whipple found his way back to TVs in 1999, after a fourteen-year break. The character claimed he couldn’t retire just yet – he still had much to tell the public about his butt paper. The new slogan was “Is Mr. Whipple watching?” …Is he?

Joe, the Isuzu Pitchman

Real Name : David Leisure
Salary Deal : $20,000
From 1986 to 1990, Joe Isuzu told the world about the merits of one of Japan’s famous car companies, making outrageous claims as an excited and overzealous salesman played by David Leisure. Famous Hollywood director Graham Baker directed the commercials, and they even had a Super Bowl XXI spot in 1987.

 

Joe had a twin sister (Leisure, wearing a wig) named Joanne who also appeared in the commercials. The commercials returned in 1999 despite Isuzu having left the US market. Leisure also appeared in a quick campaign for Johnny5ive, an “Isuzu Trooper” mechanic. The Isuzu Trooper is a mid-size SUV that was made between 1981 and 2002. Leisure received a $20,000 deal from the Japanese company.

“The Most Interesting Man in the World”

Real Name : Jonathon Goldsmith
Salary Deal : $1 million
Few ad campaigns have been as successful as “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign, and actor Jonathon Goldsmith has been providing a weathered gaze and deep, smokey voice in the acting world since 1963. Born in New York City, Goldsmith got his first role on a Perry Mason series, going on to gain traction in the Western world, with over twenty-five Westerns to his name.

 

Goldsmith has also been in television shows through the years, such as Dallas, Gunsmoke, CHiPs, Bonanza, Charlie’s Angels, T.J. Hooker, Hardcastle & McCormick, Knots Landing, Magnum P.I., and plenty of others. His Dos Equis campaign was so popular, sales increased by 15.4% percent. He certainly earned his $1 million deal.

The Pine-Sol Woman

Real Name : Diane Amos
Salary Deal : $250,000 P
ine-Sol is famous for its fresh lemon scent, as well as the charming woman who is oh so excited about the legendary cleaning power. Diane Amos is also known for her roles in The Hall , Blue Jasmine , Olive , Twisted , Nine Months , Patch Adams , Sweet November , and plenty more. Her first non-commercial role was in 1990, as “Janet” in Midnight Caller .

 

She’s served as the spokeswoman for Pine-Sol since 2002, bringing in about $250,000 a year. She is mainly a TV actress, but also has a stand-up comedy career, as well as appearing in a number of pretty famous movies.

Captain Morgan’s Chief Party Officer

Real Name : Adam Devine
Salary Deal : $3 million
Get it? Because a Chief Petty Officer is a naval rank and – oh, you get it. While Mr. Devine might not be playing the Captain himself, the Chief Party Officer is a big role to fill, and at a hull-busting $3 million salary, we hope Adam kept things shipshape. There’s nothing like a celebrity endorsement to get people to notice.

 

Adam Devine is recognizable from roles such as Pitch Perfect, Workaholics, Game Over, Man!, and plenty more. His first commercial for the captain was “House Party: Sea Creature” – Devine pretended to be the famous one-leg-up captain on a house’s front lawn.

The Gas Station Pepsi Girl

Real Name : Cindy Crawford
Salary Deal : $5 million
Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll recognize the name Cindy Crawford. She is one of the world’s most famous supermodels, and is almost as well known for this famous Pepsi spot. Her iconic – and breath-takingly thin – white tank top and supermodel-messy hair got her $5 million for the simple ad, which meant more than $150,000 for every second.

 

Crawford recreated the ad during the 2018 Super Bowl with her son, Presley Gerber, twenty-six years after the original. Is it possible a taste for Pepsi is a genetic thing? We might be looking at a nature versus nurture debate.

The Beard Guru for James Harden

Real Name : Pete Gardner
Salary Deal : $10,000
Pete Gardner’s been in a ton of commercials, but one of his most memorable spots has been as the hirsute historian of beards to the similarly-bearded NBA star, James Harden. In a commercial for NBA 2K15, Gardner appears to give Harder expert advice to keep at the top of his beard game.

 

Gardner, who unfortunately does not have a legendary beard in real life, has been in commercials for Doritos (“Crash the Super Bowl”), Juicy Fruit, Castrol, Taco Bell, USPS, and Hanes. His pedigree of working alongside athletes began with Hanes, when he worked with Michael Jordan. His Castrol commercial is famous for his “Think with your dipstick” line. Gardner got $10,000 for this single NBA 2K15 ad.

The Doritos Kid

Real Name : Tobey Maguire
Salary Deal : $5,000
Years before Maguire donned the mask and swung through the buildings of New York as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he was asking everyone “Who’s Bob?” Bob seemed to really like Doritos, as the people at the bowling alley repeatedly told him, but Bob might not even exist.

 

Maguire ended up hating Doritos because of how many he ended up eating thanks to the commercials, but the commercials were not only a big career boost for the eighth grader, but also put $5,000 in his account. If you’re interested in knowing more about this commercial, don’t bother. Insider could only call it “baffling.” It’s exactly what you might expect from a nineties commercial for Doritos.

The “Can You Hear Me Now?” Guy

Real Name : Paul Marcelli
Salary Deal : $9 million
It was one of the most famous phrases a commercial had during the years from 2001 to 2011, and Paul Marcelli raked in the big bucks with a total of $9 million. Thanks to their universal coverage, Verizon was able to build five simple words into a huge industry.

 

While Marcelli starred in the commercials for a long time, he now speaks for Verizon competitor Sprint, using the new tagline “Can You Hear That?” It might not have the same ring, but Marcelli is still doing good work for Sprint, starting in 2016.

The InVinceable Guy

Real Name : Vince Offer
Salary Deal : $2 million
Vince Offer first made his mark as the spirited and energetic face that demonstrated the amazing absorption of ShamWow, but he’s also a comedian and writer. His first major film came in 1999, The Underground Comedy Movie . He not only does ShamWow commercials, he also writes, produces, and owns them.

 

In addition, he owns a slew of kitchen products (like the famous Slap Chop), along with the InVinceable and a number of other product lines. His salary deal is $2 million, but his total earnings are likely much higher since he owns the companies themselves..

Carl Hardee, Sr.

Real Name : Chip Esten
Salary Deal : $20,000
With his own musical and television career, Charles “Chip” Esten has done plenty in the entertainment biz. He portrayed Carl Hardee, Sr. in a commercial alongside his fictional son, Carl Junior. Esten played the role of Deacon on Nashville from 2012 until 2018, which helped bring him to greater fame and get his musical career off the ground.

 

He’s also appeared as Josh Porter in The Office, and has had bit parts on the shows Thirteen Days and Enlightened. He’s also had an appearance on Whose Line Is It Anyway? His role as the Hardee’s patriarch was only $20,000, but don’t worry – his net worth is estimated at around $4 million.

The Snapple Lady

Real Name : Wendy Kaufman
Salary Deal : $100,000
Kaufman wasn’t picked out of a hat to foist flavored tea and juices at us – she got the part because she was the only one at Snapple who would answer fan mail. This caught the eye of the ad agency, who also thought her energetic, bubbly personality would work well on TV.

Getty Images Photo by Sylvain Gaboury

Snapple sales jumped from $23 million to $750 million in the nineties, and some hold Kaufman accountable. While she was removed for two years after Snapple was sold to Quaker Oats, the company quickly realized what they had lost, and brought her back in. She currently brings in $100,000 a year.

The Human PC Guy in Apple Commercials

Real Name : John Hodgman
Salary Deal : $3 million
Appearing in the famously-derided Mac commercials alongside the “Mac” Justin Long, Hodgman is supposed to be seen as the stodgy and outdated Windows PC, yet he is so well-known – and Long’s character so annoying – a lot of people ended up siding with Hodgman.

 

Hodgman is also a humorist and writer, working with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. His writing has appeared in physical form and online. Apple paid a salary of $3 million. His most recent book, ‘Medallion Status’, came out in October of 2019. He has a degree from Yale on literary criticism, and was an agent before becoming a writer.

Sandra Savealot

Real Name: Alyssa Milano
Salary Deal : $1 million
Actress, singer, producer, and director Alyssa Milano has made more than her mark on Hollywood, and has a net worth of more than $10 million. A good portion of that comes from her short “Sandra Savealot” role, which got her a million dollars. It was part of MCI’s commercials advertising their 1-800-COLLECT service, a collect call business.

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In the commercials, a hapless caller might not have the right change for a pay phone, but when Sandra Savealot appears, his worries are gone. Milano got the service a lot of press, since she starred in a popular sitcom called Who’s the Boss in the late 80s and early 90s.

Kevin Butler, the PS3 Exec

Real Name : Jerry Lambert
Salary Deal : $10,000
As a way to tout the many features of their new gaming console, Sony created the character of Kevin Butler, played by Jerry Lambert. In the humorous commercials, Kevin Butler was the VP of various, varying departments within Sony, but was mainly in charge of answering fan mail.

 

The character came from the minds of ad agency Deutsch/LA, which not only ran Jerry Lambert’s social media, but also wrote the speech he gave at E3 2010. Lambert had a salary deal of $10,000, while the only thing Butler had was an MBA: Master of Being Awesome.

Colonel Sanders

Real Name : Harlan Sanders
Salary Deal : $40,000
White-clad southern businessman Harlan Sanders had a dream about chicken, blazing from on high, and while he began with a small stand, the company is now worth more than $15 billion. His famous image – suit, moustache, goatee, and black bow tie – is immortal as the company’s logo. He sold his stake in the company for only $2 million, but appeared in commercials for the company until his death, earning a yearly take of $40,000.

 

Actor fact: While Sanders wasn’t part of the army, he was made an honorary colonel because he, yes, made the best chicken: “In recognition of his contributions to the state’s cuisine.”

The Safeguard Singer

Real Name : John Travolta
Salary Deal : $70,000
Here’s another name you’re certainly familiar with. Long before he rose to international fame with movies like Grease or Saturday Night Fever , Travolta appeared in a Safeguard Bath Soap commercial. The commercial aired in the 1970s, and featured Travolta and his teammates singing in the shower after a sweaty basketball game.

 

It’s the first time the world got to see Travolta’s musical talent, and just a few years later, he would appear in Grease, and his career would speed up. However, he earned plenty of money from his soap ad, at a salary of $70,000. They were lucky – a few years later and they might have had to add a zero to the end.

Dunkin Donuts’ Fred the Baker

Real Name : Michael Vale
Salary Deal : $1 million
How well-liked and loved was Fred the Baker when he retired from his commercials in 1997? Dunkin Donuts gave away six million free donuts to celebrate his send-off, and the TV Bureau of Advertising named his original commercial one of the best of the decade in the eighties. His slogan was “Time to make the donuts,” since the commercial featured him getting up at the crack of dawn to make the delicious treats DD is known for.

 

Actor Michael Vale portrayed this down-to-earth and hard-working everyday-man for a cool million dollars, and his character was so popular Boston gave him his own parade.

The 7 Up Guy

Real Name: Orlando Jones
Salary Deal: $500,000
Jones earned a pretty penny for his role as lemon-lime soft drink spokesperson – $500,000, from 1999 to 2002. He’s an entertainment biz veteran, co-producing The Sinbad Show back in 1993, and appearing in shows and movies such as In Harm’s Way , Sour Grapes , Office Space , Woo , and Liberty Heights . He got his first big break in 1987 as a screenwriter for A Different World , an NBC comedy.

 

7 Up chose him for his comedic personality and writing skills. He’s recently been in Starz’s American Gods, The Book of Love movie, and episodes of Room 104 and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

The 90’s Pepsi Girl

Real Name : Hallie Kate Eisenberg
Salary Deal : $1 million
If Hallie’s name seems familiar, that’s because she’s the sister of famous The Social Network actor, Jesse Eisenberg. Hallie played “Little Amanda Martin” AKA the Pepsi Girl, who did little more than enjoy the sweet taste of the blue can, in a set of commercials airing during the nineties. She went on to non-commercial projects, such as the movie Paulie .

 

Hallie continued acting until 2010, appearing in Beautiful, with Minnie Driver, and starring in The Miracle Worker, a TV movie remake. Actress fact: she was named after Hallie O’Fallon from the movie All I Want for Christmas. Hallie raked in a cool million for her soda spokesmanship.

Flo, The Progressive Insurance Woman

Real Name : Stephanie Courtney
Salary Deal : $8 million
With a grating, draining, plastic, and fake upbeat attitude offset by an outdated hairdo and garish red lipstick, Stephanie Courtney has been annoying the people of the world as ham alien Flo from Progressive for years. She’s been in one hundred different commercials so far, though who could have been able to tell? They’re all the exact same thing. She even has an Australian counterpart to spread the disease further: “Kitty”, played by actress Holly Austin.

 

She has received eight million dollars in salary, though Progressive charges so much for car insurance that’s probably nothing. Courtney has also appeared in Mad Men, Cavemen, Men of a Certain Age, and The Goldbergs.

The Toyota Girl

Real Name : Laurel Coppock
Salary Deal : $1 million
Another fresh-faced brunette brings in another million dollars as the face of a business. Laurel Coppock is much more than the cheerful, helpful Toyota employee Jan, who only wants to help you find the perfect vehicle. She has had numerous appearances in television shows like Hot in Cleveland , Arrested Development , The Office , Modern Family , and more.

 

Coppock studied acting professionally at the Square Acting Conservatory, then moved to Chicago to study improv comedy acting. She worked for Boom Chicago in Amsterdam before beginning her television career. You might also recognize her as Sophia from Crazy, Stupid, Love.

“I’ve Fallen and Can’t Get Up” Lady

Real Name : Edith Fore
Salary Deal : $200,000
Edith Fore has fallen plenty of times, but don’t worry, because she has a LifeCall Medical Alarm bracelet. This series was one of the best known commercials, and the catchphrase continues to create a little bit of laughter even now.

Getty Images Photo by Kimberly Butler

Madam Fore earned a pretty penny for her acting prowess: She raked in $200,000, but it’s possible she could have done it for free. Her LifeCall bracelet really did save her life when she fell at home, sustaining both a hip injury and a head injury. She was inspired to appear in the commercials because of this, and turned the experience into a famous commercial.

The “Got Milk?” Trivia Guy

Real Name : Sean Whalen
Salary Deal : $50,000
Yet another ultra-famous commercial tagline, “Got Milk?” got its start in a campaign with Sean Whalen playing Aaron Burr, a trivia buff and history enthusiast. While the ad was mocked, it brought fame to Whalen. The commercial was directed by Michael Bay of all people, and it wasn’t even Whalen’s first.

 

He’s been in ads for DiGiorno Pizza’s deep dish pizza, Bud Light, and has even appeared in movies such as Twister, Charlie’s Angels, Employee of the Month, and The People Under the Stairs, among others. Whalen received a salary of $50,000 for the ad. While the details of the ad have been forgotten, the question truly remains: Got Milk?

The “I’m Not a Doctor, but…” Guy

Real Name : Peter Bergman
Salary Deal : $1 million
For a million dollars a year, Peter Bergman let everyone know he wasn’t really a doctor, but he played one on TV. He did, too, as an actor on the General Hospital soap opera. His tagline for the line of Vicks products he promoted became one of the most famous taglines of the next few decades. There are probably still ads being made that parody it.

 

Robinson made his last appearance on General Hospital in 2002 – his character, Dr. Webber, lost his life due to a candlestick, though thankfully Robinson himself is still alive and well.

Morris the Cat

Real Name : John Morris
Salary Deal : $56,000
How much is this Garfield knock-off worth? $56,000 a year, if you can believe it. Of course, the cat isn’t really getting that money. The character is a combination of a real cat named Morris, and a sarcastic, deadpan voice-actor John Morris. The best part about this is the matching names is one hundred percent a coincidence.

 

Morris the cat was famously picky, but not, of course, for 9Lives, the cat food that started advertising in 1968. Before he rose to fame, Morris (the cat) lived at Hinsdale Humane Society, and currently has a page on their website dedicated to him. They call him “the quintessential American success story.”

The Trivago Guy

Real Name : Tim Williams
Salary Deal : $20,000
Despite a Texas birthplace, Tim Williams grew up in Germany and speaks fluent German. He’s starred in plenty of German films and television, while also appearing in English-speaking films such as Valkyrie (which is set in Germany), Labyrinth of Lies , and Ninja Assassin .

 

Hotel site Trivago has featured Tim Williams in their successful ad campaigns since 2012, with a salary deal worth $20,000. He’s studied at Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. He’s appeared on shows like The Sopranos, and recorded his first musical album, Magnolia City, in 2018. He’s currently focused on his music as his main project.

DriveTime Girl 1

Real Name : Nicole Randall Johnson
Salary Deal :  $100,000
Comedienne Nicole Randall Johnson has appeared in television shows, movies, and ads – in 2013 the auto loan company DriveTime hired her for $100,000, as well as fellow funny-gal Katie Crown, to appear in their campaign “DriveTime Girls” The two played a pair of eccentric drivers who rescued those who had been rejected for auto loans, with the help of some interesting tech.

 

Johnson has had plenty of work in the entertainment business, having appeared in comedy sketches and shows for some time. She’s known for her appearances on Mad Men, as well as comedies like Reno 911!, Key & Peele, and Andy Barker, P.I.

The Old Spice Guy

Real Name : Isaiah Mustafa
Salary Deal : $5 million
He’s the man your man could smell like. His name is Isaiah Mustafa, and he’s on a horse. He’s also a former wide receiver in the NFL, playing for the Oilers (a team that doesn’t even exist anymore) in the 1990s – he was also on the practice squads for the Browns and the Raiders, but left football for acting.

Alamy Stock Photo

He appeared on the soap opera Days of Our Lives before signing a deal with NBC for Horrible Bosses. He currently stars in It Two. Mustafa expressed interest in playing Marvel character Luke Cage before losing the role to Idris Elba, though the product never materialized. His deal with Old Spice was $5 million.

The Cingular Wireless Umbrella Girl

Real Name : Angela Sarafyan
Salary Deal : $75,000
It’s likely you’re much more familiar with this Armenian actress now than you were when she grabbed an umbrella and shilled for Cingular Wireless for a measly seventy-five grand. She’s exploded into a promising talent and rising star, with big roles in Westworld , Repo Chick , Never and The Immigrant . She’s also appeared in Judging Amy , The Division , 24 , Criminal Minds , Nikita , The Mentalist , and many more.

 

Sarafyan comes from a family of artists – her father is an actor, and her mother is a painter. She moved to America when she was four.

The “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” Lady

Real Name : Betty White
Salary Deal : $5 million
She’s one of the Golden Girls , and a leading lady in the world of television, but even Betty can get hungry. That’s why she appeared in the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” ad for Snickers, which netted her $5 million – the girl is even more golden now.

Alamy Stock Photo

Madam White has credited Snickers for helping her get more acting roles as the years have gone on. The commercial came out in 2010, with Betty playing a pro lineman, and its success not only led to more roles for Betty, but for plenty of other “Hungry” ads with other long-time acting names.

Mr. Mayhem from the Allstate Commercials

Real Name: Dean Winters
Salary Deal : $4,750 per aired commercial
Mr. Mayhem has been causing incredible destruction and problems for all kinds of people on his large campaign of ads for insurance company Allstate. The ingenious part of his contract is that it’s not a flat fee – Winters gets $4,750 every time one of his commercials airs. It’s enough to keep him in slim gray suits and face bandages for years to come.

Getty Images Photo by Bobby Bank

Winters has had a recurring role as “Ryan” in prison drama Oz, and other television credits include Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Law & Order SVU, Rescue me, 30 Rock, and Battle Creek.

Speedy Alka Seltzer

Real Name : Dick Beals
Salary Deal : $20,000
A throwback from the long-ago, the Speedy Alka Seltzer Kid is a character with a human head and an alka seltzer body, paired with human arms and legs. Bob Watkins of the Wade Agency in Chicago created this character in 1951 – it originally went by the name “Sparky.”

 

He became Speedy in 1963, and was voiced by young Dick Beals for a yearly $20,000. The character’s first appearance wasn’t on television, however – women’s magazines found him gracing their pages and offering antacid relief with his “effervescent” wand. Speedy’s tagline was “plop, plop, fizz, fizz,”, which could have used a little bit more time at the brainstorm.

The Slim Jim Dude

Real Name : Demetri Goritsas
Salary Deal : $100,000
As the chemical opposite of “The Most Interesting Man in the World”, Goritsas has appeared in blockbuster movies, television series, and theatre, but he may always be remembered as the Slim Jim Guy. He attended the Royal School of Speech & Drama and Prince George Secondary School, and also narrates documentaries.

 

Slim Jim acquired this generational talent for $100,000. Goritsas has been in movies such as X-Men First Class, The Bourne Identity, Darkest Hour, and even Saving Private Ryan, and he has plenty more work coming down the pipeline, including a part in the movie Radioactive.

The GoDaddy Guy

Real Name : Jesse Heiman
Salary Deal : $900,000
Born in Boston, Heiman was first noticed by the public at large when he was paid to make out with mega-hot Israeli supermodel, Bar Rafaeli. Paid to make out with Bar Rafaeli! During the super bowl, even! It quickly became one of the night’s most-discussed ads. How much did Heiman receive for this act of charity? $900,000.

 

Heiman moved to films shortly after. His first big role was American Pie 2. He’s had roles in Maybe It’s Me, Curb Your Enthusiasm, NCIS, Entourage, and other television shows, and has also appeared in the Will Ferrell movie Old School.

DriveTime Girl 2

Real Name : Katie Crown
Salary Deal : $100,000
As DriveTime Girl 2, Katie Crown commanded the same price, a hundred grand, for appearing with coworker Nicole Randall Johnson. Crown is a comedienne herself, as well as a prolific voice actress. You’ve heard her voice if you’ve ever seen an episode of Bob’s Burgers , Total Drama , Stoked , or Clarence .

 

Crown has won awards and critical acclaim for her voice-over acting, and her voice has even made it into the movie Storks. She’s won the Canadian Comedy Award for TV, and for Best Writing of a TV Program. Crown has been killing it for fourteen years, and has a net worth of about $3 million to prove it.

The Orbit Gum Girl

Real Name : Farris Patton
Salary Deal : $500,000
With a shining smile that has an audible gleam, Farris Patton received $500,000 for her role as the Orbit Gum Girl. Her simple delivery and classy acting was enough to get anyone to try a new brand of gum. While no one will say Patton is an acting star, she has appeared in The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show , 90210 , Little Hercules , Redline , The Playbook , and more.

 

She has also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live in skit roles, and has starred in various shows as herself, including a TV movie about commercials’ most “Famous Faces.” She has also appeared on Entertainment Tonight as a model.

Esurance “Stuck in the 90s” Guy

Real Name : Dennis Quaid
Salary Deal : $120,000
Esurance certainly wasn’t stuck in the nineties, and when they salaried Dennis Quaid for $120,000 to be the premiere actor in this campaign of commercials, it offered a huge boost to the subsidiary of Allstate.

 

Previous Esurance commercials could only be described as painful. Quaid was able to bring a straight-shooting, every-man quality to the company, helping Esurance to rebrand itself from an afterthought of the insurance market to a company that wants to make things easy for the consumer, as opposed to the difficult other options people had at the time. While most of the insurance business was stuck in the nineties, Esurance showed there was a better way.

Bob from Bob’s Discount Furniture

Real Name : Bob Kaufman
Salary Deal : $100,000
Kaufman collected a low $100,000 a year for his appearances in the company’s commercials, but they’re actually his commercials, because it’s his company. He’s the real Bob. He’s worth a wild $26 billion. His offbeat and memorable commercials ran a huge campaign during the 1990s, and in 1997 they ran five hundred commercials a week in Connecticut alone.

 

With Little Bob, a miniature version of himself by his side, Bob’s Furniture turned into a success. They’ve even sponsored national football teams like the Patriots, Giants, Chargers, and Steelers. Good-guy Kaufman has also donated quite a lot of money to causes like cancer research, Veterans Home, and children’s charities.

The “Whassup?” Guy

Real Name : Charles Stone III
Salary Deal : $8 million
It launched a brand new…noise…into the lexicon, but the man behind the sound, Charlies Stone III, has gone on to become a famous member of the entertainment industry. As an actor and director, he’s worked with Nick Cannon, Bernie Mac, and plenty of other famous faces, directing Drumline , Mr. 3000 , Paid in Full , and lots more. He’s done music videos like The Roots’ What They Do .

 

While the ad itself was simple and memorable, it also netted Stone eight million dollars. The Budweiser commercial just had a pair of goofs shouting at each other, and it ended up good for all. Unless you hate “Whassup.”

The Guy From Sonic Commercials

Real Name : T.J. Jagodowski
Salary Deal : $300,000
As an improv comedian, T.J.’s unique brand of off-the-cuff humor caught the eye of Sonic when they were on the hunt for a new face for their ads. Jagodowski is a Chicago-based actor who appeared alongside actor Pete Grosz, and the two almost always improvised their lines.

 

Jagodowski has won Chicago Improv Festival’s “Best Improviser” award. His deal with Sonic netted him $300,000, but he’s also had roles in films such as Get Hard, The Ice Harvest, Stranger than Fiction, and more. He’s also had a bit role in the Fox show Prison Break.

The GEICO Gecko

Real Name : Jake Wood
Salary Deal : $3 million
Born in England, Jake Wood provides the voice of the famous insurance reptile for GEICO. Wood is also the star of legendary British soap opera EastEnders . He voiced the gecko for ten years before being replaced in 2015. His total salary deal was three million dollars.

Getty Images Photo by Daniel Acker and Eamonn McCormack

He revealed on social media that he had lost the gig due to not accepting a “huge pay cut.” He first appeared on the commercials in 2006, when he replaced Kelsey Grammer as the British gecko who seems to think the only thing people want to talk about is car insurance. Beat it, reptile.

The Duncan Hines Redhead

Real Name : Lindsay Lohan
Salary Deal : $7,500
We all know about this world-famous redhead now, but when she was just a child – before even The Parent Trap – Ms. Lohan spent plenty of time acting in commercials. One such commercial was for Duncan Hines, which got Lindsay for a salary of only $7,500.

 

Lindsay’s mother Dina took her to the audition, and reported Lindsay would quit acting if she didn’t get the part for the commercial. Luckily for fans of the remake of The Parent Trap, she stuck with it. Duncan Hines peddles plenty of sweet treats, but the best thing they might have done was get Lohan’s career started.

The 1990s “Noxzema Girl”

Real Name : Rebecca Gayheart
For the first time on this list, we have two faces from the same brand. Rebecca Gayheart started her modeling and acting career with Noxzema in the 1980s, through the 1990s. Her career really took off thanks to a short student film by director Brett Ratner, a name you may recognize as the director of films such as Rush Hour , Red Dragon , X-Men: The Last Stand , and more, as well as a producer for many more.

 

Gayheart isn’t in the Noxzema ads anymore, but she was in the recent Tarantino blockbuster Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as well as the TV series Dead Like Me. She is also married to Euphoria actor, Eric Dane.

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