Acting may be the ultimate job that inspires spectators to condescendingly think, “I could do that!” Being famous, earning big money, having your lines written for you and getting to spend your work days waiting in a cushy trailer until your next scene all sounds amazing, but for nearly all actors, it’s a little more blue-collar than that.
That’s especially true in commercial acting, which is where many hopeful screen players get their start. Appearing in an ad is typically a thankless job that requires all the usual hoops of auditioning and hoping for a callback but with a smaller paycheck and less notoriety. However, some actors have had so much success in commercials, they’ve become nearly as famous as movie stars and have commanded similar paychecks.
John Lehr (Geico) – Unspecified
While the commercial actor has appeared in other roles in television, John Lehr is best known for portraying a caveman in a series of advertisements made by Geico. While he’s not the only one to have donned the costume and prosthetics, Lehr’s appeared in the most ads in this particular campaign. It’s just a shame that people don’t recognize him as quickly as some of the other people on this list.
Jake Wood (Geico) – Unspecified (Net Worth $3 Million)
There are few companies that spend as much on TV advertising every week as Geico. The company outspends every other insurance company on advertising, shelling out $1.5 billion for it in 2018 alone. Rather than focusing on a single spokesperson to sell its services, Geico’s advertising approach involves many different campaigns, but the Geico Gecko has been a constant presence for 20 years. British actor Jake Wood voiced the Gecko for about a decade and amassed a reported net worth of $3 million, meaning his rate had to be pretty cheap since he has also done work on several high-profile British series.
In 2015, he was replaced as the Geico Gecko, with the actor tweeting that it was because he refused to take a major pay cut.
Vince Offer (ShamWow) – Less Than $20,000
Remember the ShamWow Guy? Vince Offer rose to fame in the late ’00s as a pitchman featured on late-night TV ads for products like ShamWow and the Slap Chop. His fast-paced delivery in those commercials made him a sensation and one of the most famous commercial actors of the era, especially in the direct-response sector. The budget for his famous ShamWow ad, which put him on the map, was only $20,000 in total, meaning he made peanuts for appearing in it. But it turns out that Offer is the owner of many of the products he has done commercials for, and that’s given him a net worth of about $2 million.
Dean Winters (Allstate) – $5,000 (Per Primetime Ad)
Dean Winters is one of those actors who had a pretty solid acting career going before he found new star power in commercials. He was one of the stars of HBO’s acclaimed series “Oz” from 1997-2003 and had appeared in plenty of other shows and movies. But his life took a severe downturn in 2009, when he suffered a bacterial infection that nearly killed him. He has credited Allstate and the “Mayhem” commercials he’s starred in since 2010 with saving his life.
“I’m indebted to [Allstate] for life,” Winters told the Sioux City Journal. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”
Reports vary on what Winters makes for those spots, but Forbes put his net worth at $4 million in 2015 and some reports claim he is paid nearly $5,000 every time one of his ads airs in primetime.
Demetri Goritsas (Slim Jim) – $100,000
For years, Slim Jim advertisements used the star power of pro wrestling legend Randy “Macho Man” Savage to sell their meats, but the company went in a new direction in 1998. That’s when Demetri Goritsas debuted as the Slim Jim Guy, which was a brash character who literally was a human Slim Jim. The ads were completely over the top and had to be run past TV network censors because of the catchphrase shouted by Goritsas in each one of them: “Eat me!” The spots didn’t run for too long, but they were memorable, and Goritsas made a reported $100,000 for his work in them.
Wendy Kaufman (Snapple) – $100,000
The woman behind The Snapple Lady had one of the most interesting paths to commercial stardom of anyone on this list. Wendy Kaufman was simply a regular employee at Snapple who was known for having a great personality and for personally answering fan letters written to the company by customers. When Snapple’s advertising agency heard about this, they decided to base an entire series of ads, which ran for a few years in the early 1990s, around Kaufman doing exactly that to charming effect. Sales of the company’s drinks went through the roof in the wake of the ads, and Kaufman reportedly made $100,000 a year for her role.
Brandon Moynihan (Hotels.com) – $180,000
There are a lot of recurring characters in TV commercials today, but Captain Obvious from Hotels.com has to be one of the funniest. The deadpan delivery of actor Brandon Moynihan helps give the completely obvious statements he makes the weight of an earth-shattering fact. Moynihan debuted as the character in 2014, decked out in an elaborate captain’s costume, and has been playing the part ever since. Estimates put his net worth at $1.1 million in 2020, which means he could be making around $180,000 per year for the gig, as it’s been his only high-profile performance to date.
Justin Guarini (Dr. Pepper) – $250,000
Did you realize that the guy playing Lil’ Sweet, the diminutive singer in the Diet Dr. Pepper ads, is a former “American Idol” runner-up? Justin Guarini, who finished second to Kelly Clarkson in season one of the reality singing competition, has been playing that part since 2015. Reports estimate that he’s getting paid about $250,000 a year to appear in the somewhat bizarre series of spots. If you ask us, he deserves more just for that falsetto!
Beck Bennett (AT&T) – $250,000
You probably recognize Beck Bennett from his work on “Saturday Night Live,” but before he was a cast member on that series, he was a top commercial star. Starting in 2011, Bennett led a series of ads for AT&T that saw him sitting at a table with children and asking them to answer serious questions as a panel of experts. The spots were mostly improvised, which is a skill that would help him greatly on the set of “SNL.” It’s been reported that the up-and-coming comic was being paid $250,000 per year while doing those commercials.
Diane Amos (Pine-Sol) – $250,000
The Pine-Sol Lady has been a part of our lives for nearly 30 years, and Diane Amos was the actor who made that part famous. Her love for the lemon-scented cleaning product was seen in a series of TV advertisements starting in 1993, helping boost the profile of the brand. Amos’ background in improv comedy landed her the job and helped her nail the character, leading her to a reported net worth of $2.5 million. The company has even used her in social media ads more recently, such as this 2013 Facebook post. She made an estimated $250,000 per year while playing the part.
T.J. Jagodowski (Sonic Drive-In) – $300,000
One of the most common backgrounds for top commercial actors is improv comedy, and that includes T.J. Jagodowski, seen on the left in this Facebook post from Sonic. He and fellow comic Peter Grosz have formed one of the most famous pairs in TV commercial history as the irreverent guys who spend a lot of time eating food in their car at Sonic. The “Two Guys” ads featuring Jagodowski first aired in 2004 and have been at the center of the fast-food chain’s TV campaign since then. He certainly became famous for the funny commercials but he didn’t exactly make a killing, according to estimates.
It’s been reported that he made about $300,000 total for his work on them, which effectively ended in 2020, when the company moved in a different direction with its marketing.
Dick Wilson (Charmin) – $300,000
A vintage commercial star, Dick Wilson became an icon for his performances in Charmin ads for about 20 years, starting in the mid-1960s. The part he played was Mr. Whipple, a neurotic grocery store owner who would admonish customers for squeezing the Charmin toilet paper before doing the same thing when nobody was looking. Wilson reportedly made as much as $300,000 a year for the part, which required very little work in terms of total hours on the set.
Farris Patton (Orbit) – $500,000
When Wrigley relaunched the old Orbit gum brand in 2001, it wanted a memorable ad campaign. The company found it by introducing a character called The Orbit Gum Girl, a posh British woman who would recommend the brand in situations where someone needed a cleaner mouth. Farris Patton took over the role in 2010 and played it until 2014, making a reported $500,000 total in the process.
“People knock commercials, but they pay well and you’re working,” Patton told Backstage in 2011.
Clara Peller (Wendy’s) – $500,000
If you were watching TV in the mid-’80s, you probably remember seeing Clara Peller pop up in breaks during your favorite shows. She became an unlikely commercial star at the age of 83, when she landed a gig in a Wendy’s spot that would become a classic. In the ad, she demanded to know, “Where’s the beef?” when looking at a burger offered by a fast-food competitor. The catchphrase became an instant hit and Peller was quickly locked up by Wendy’s, making a salary of $500,000 a year. Unfortunately, her dream job wouldn’t last long; Peller died in 1987 at the age of 86.
Isaiah Mustafa (Old Spice) – $500,000
Procter & Gamble is one of the biggest advertisers in the world, spending as much as $4.4 billion on ads across all spaces on a yearly basis. One of the company’s most visible brands is Old Spice, which has been known in the past decade for its unique TV commercials. Isaiah Mustafa was a regular presence in those spots during the 2010s, showing off his chiseled form and deep voice as a mythical figure that came to be known simply as the Old Spice Guy. Mustafa’s net worth has been reported at $5 million, meaning he was making an estimated $500,000 a year during the decade.
Jim Cashman (Progressive) – $500,000
Flo remains the most recognizable figure in Progressive’s TV ads but her co-worker Jamie has become a minor star himself in recent years. That part is played by actor Jim Cashman, who is living up to his last name and getting paid handsomely to be Flo’s right-hand man. Cashman, seen on the right in this image posted by Progressive on Twitter, has a background in improv comedy and has used it to make Jamie a memorable figure in the ads, securing himself a reported salary of $500,000 annually.
Tim Williams (Trivago) – $700,000
It turns out that a lot of people have developed a crush on The Trivago Guy since he debuted in ads for the travel search engine in 2013. The character, who tells viewers about the wonders of Trivago while giving off an everyman silver-fox vibe, is played by actor Tim Williams. His sex appeal is something the company has had fun with, particularly on social media, like in this tweet. He was apparently a veteran of projects in Germany before Trivago made him a minor star in the U.S. Williams has a reported net worth of $5 million, which would equate to roughly $700,000 a year, but he’s done other acting projects so that’s probably an overestimation.
Milana Vayntrub (AT&T) – $700,000
Another commercial character that made a lot of people catch feelings was Lily from AT&T. The bubbly cell phone store employee was played by actor Milana Vayntrub in a series of commercials from 2013 to 2017 before the company moved on. Vayntrub doesn’t have a ton of other major projects on her resume but has also done work as a commercial director, including for a series of new ads featuring Lily made during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Vayntrub’s reported net worth of $3 million was calculated before she was brought back by AT&T, so we can assume she was making north of $700,000 a year in the role before.
Morgan Smith-Goodwin (Wendy’s) – $750,000
The fast-food giant Wendy’s has been praised for its savvy use of social media to connect with younger consumers, especially on Twitter. But the company has remained a steady player in TV advertising as well. From 2012-2016, it employed Morgan Smith-Goodwin as a charming redhead named Red in a series of commercials. Smith-Goodwin, seen here in a tweet from her time as the character, made as much as $750,000 per year in those spots, based on her reported net earnings. That kind of salary would satisfy even the biggest Frosty craving!
Stephanie Courtney (Progressive) – $800,000
Progressive spends a ton of money on TV advertising and a chunk of it goes to the insurance company’s star spokesperson: Flo. That insurance-obsessed character has been played by actor Stephanie Courtney since 2008. More than a decade later, Courtney still going strong in Progressive’s campaigns, even playing all the members of Flo’s ridiculous family in some spots. All that work has netted her an estimated salary of $800,000 per year, according to numbers cited by Forbes. Before making it big as Flo, Courtney had a small part in AMC’s hit show “Mad Men,” which, coincidentally, was set in the world of advertising.
Carly Foulkes (T-Mobile) – $1 Million
Cell phone companies are some of the most ubiquitous advertisers on TV, and T-Mobile is one of the biggest. Deep pockets mean they can afford to spend big on a successful spokesperson, and they did exactly that with Carly Foulkes, aka “the T-Mobile Girl.” When the Canadian actor was doing regular ads for the company from 2010-2013, typically donning her signature pink dress, Foulkes was pulling in an estimated $1 million a year.
T-Mobile has brought her back several times since then and even kept her on contract when they weren’t using her in TV ads just to keep her away from other companies, showing her power as a brand icon.
Billy Mays (OxiClean) – $1 Million
Ask anyone who watched a lot of late-night TV during the 2000s and they’ll tell you Billy Mays was the king of pitching products that you had no idea you needed. While he threw his impeccable salesmanship behind everything from ridiculously named products like the Ding King and the Big City Slider Station, Mays’ most famous ads were for OxiClean, which he started doing in 2000. The late pitchman actually ran a one-man production company, producing and starring in the ads himself, spending up to $30,000 to make a single spot. His net worth was reported at $10 million as of his death in 2009, meaning he was pulling in about $1 million a year.
Paul Marcarelli (Sprint/Verizon) – $1 Million
Whether you remember him from his classic ads with Verizon or only know him as the spokesperson for Sprint, Paul Marcarelli has made a career out of pitching cell phone plans. When he was working as the guy who would ask, “Can you hear me now?” in Verizon ads in the 2000s, he was reportedly making about $6,000 per commercial, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That ended up netting him an estimated $1 million per year, meaning he shot a lot of them. In 2016, he changed teams and started doing ads for Sprint.
Colin Ferguson (Maytag) – $1 Million
The Maytag Man is an advertising character that’s been around since the 1960s, and Colin Ferguson has been playing the part since 2014. In his commercials for the appliance brand, Ferguson assumes the role of the appliances themselves, crouching in a laundry room as a washing machine handling a load of dirty clothes or running in place while holding produce in a kitchen as a refrigerator, for example. It’s been reported that Ferguson makes as much as $1 million a year as Maytag’s go-to guy, contributing mightily to his reported net worth of $8 million, which is bolstered by his career as an actor and director in TV.
Jonathan Goldsmith (Dos Equis) – $1 Million
Another commercial actor who has amassed a reported net worth of $8 million is Jonathan Goldsmith. However, it appears that virtually all of his bank has come from doing ads. This stately looking actor became a TV ad icon in 2007, when he landed the role as “The Most Interesting Man in the World” in a series of ads for Dos Equis beer. His memorable spots led to a massive boom for Dos Equis, which saw sales increase by 116% in the first five years they aired. The company moved on from Goldsmith in 2016, but he earned around $1 million a year while playing the part.
Dennis Haysbert (Allstate) – $3 Million
Dennis Haysbert is one of the more well-known actors on this list, based on his work outside of commercials. He’s had memorable roles in movies like “Major League” and TV shows like “24,” just to name a couple. But Allstate has put his booming voice to great use in its TV ads since 2003, often having him say the slogan, “Are you in good hands?” Haysbert has also appeared in-person in many of the company’s commercials, making him even more visible. Based on his long history as a spokesperson with Allstate, Haysbert reportedly commands $3-$4 million a year to work exclusively in their ads.
Phil Swift (Flex Seal) – $10,000,000 (Net Worth)
Many people have compared Phil Swift to Billy Mays because of their similar appearances and their work pitching products on direct-response ads. Their net worths are also apparently the same, reported at $10 million, despite the fact that Swift has limited his commercial work to goods in the Flex Seal family of products. You’ve probably seen Swift riding around on a boat made of glass that’s held together using only Flex Seal, Flex Glue or Flex Tape adhesives. Swift is actually the CEO of the company that makes Flex Seal, which means he didn’t make all that cash just by acting in TV ads.
Laurel Coppock (Toyota) – $1 Million
If you’ve seen a Toyota ad in the past few years, you’ve definitely seen Laurel Coppock, smiling in her signature red outfits. The actor is yet another who landed her major commercial gig with help from a background in improv comedy. The former Groundlings performer has been playing Jan, a Toyota salesperson, since 2012 and has reportedly made some serious money in the role. Estimates put her in that elite category of making $1 million a year for her high-profile spokeswoman gig.
How much do TV commercial actors get paid? ›
How much does a TV Commercial Actor or Actress make in the United States? The average TV Commercial Actor or Actress salary in the United States is $73,952 as of February 27, 2023, but the salary range typically falls between $60,941 and $90,292.How much do famous commercial actors make? ›
How much does a Commercial Actor make? As of Feb 15, 2023, the average annual pay for a Commercial Actor in the United States is $62,180 a year.Do actors get paid every time a commercial airs? ›
It depends. If it's a non-Union commercial, the actor was probably paid on a buyout, meaning they got a lump sum and do not receive per-use residuals. If it's union, different kinds of usage are paid differently. National broadcast network usage is paid per-use (so we get paid every time it airs.)How much does Flo from Progressive get paid? ›
How much does Flo from Progressive make? According to reports, Courtney, who plays Flo in Progressive, earns $1 million each year for her role. Only a few other performers who appear in commercials get as much money as this. However, there's more to the story than that.How much does Samuel L Jackson make for commercials? ›
Yes, the ads haven't been without controversy (like this one about language and this one about Jackson) and the venture has not been cheap (The Hollywood Reporter writes that Jackson makes eight figures a year doing the spots, meaning he earns at least $10 million on them alone) but, for a company built on consumer ...How much does Jake from State Farm make? ›
But just how much does Jake from State Farm make? While the exact salary of Kevin Miles, the actor who portrays Jake, has not been disclosed, it is estimated that he makes between $200,000 to $500,000 per year for his work with State Farm.Do actors get paid for commercial reruns? ›
So, do all actors get paid for reruns? According to the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, some do, and some don't. For principal performers, royalties can lead to long-term payoffs that trump the original salary.How much do extras get paid in commercials? ›
A common rate for a single day of background work is between $100 and $200. SAG talent earns more—sometimes a lot more—than their nonunion counterparts, but pay is much less uniform. The base rate for background work in 2021 is roughly $170 per day, but there are a number of stipulations that affect that number.What is the most expensive commercial ever made? ›
Amazon's 2022 'Mind Reader' All-Time Most-Expensive Super Bowl Ad at $26 Million.What is the most successful TV commercial? ›
- Apple – “1984”
- Tootsie Pop – “How Many Licks?”
- Coca-Cola – “Meet Joe Greene”
- Budweiser – “Wassup?!”
- McDonald's – “The Showdown”
- M&M's – “They Do Exist”
- Old Spice – “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”
- Always – “Like a Girl” (2015)
What is the most famous TV commercial of all time? ›
Honda's classic 'Cog' commercial has been crowned the best TV ad of all time after coming top of The Drum's World Best Ads poll of readers and leading creative directors.Who is the actor Jake from State Farm? ›
Kevin Miles is an actor, known for S.W.A.T (2017), Criminal Minds (2019) and Innocent (2010). He is also known as Jake, from State Farm.
How much does Jake from State Farm make? The original Jake, the real-life State Farm agent named Jake Stone, made around $10,000 for his role as himself in the commercial. Kevin Miles, the new Jake, earns around $10,000 to $15,000 for his ads. He's also a social media influencer with a net worth of $2 million.How much does the Liberty Mutual guy make? ›
According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, he allegedly made $10 million during the 10 year period that he remained in this role. For this part, Marcarelli would film about 40 commercials a year, and was also required to attend many events.
According to Cheat Sheet, White earns around $10 million a year for her time on the show alone. We also think it's important to mention that the game show only films four days a month (yes, you read that correctly). That means that in shooting six episodes a day, White earns $34,722 per show.Who is the Capital One commercial actor? ›
In 2015, he began his current spokesman campaign with Capital One. Brandt is a Narrator for Nat Geo and Discovery, and also hosted his own show on Nat Geo WILD called Jobs That Bite!, a series showcasing the fun and fascinating, dirty and dangerous animal jobs the world has to offer.
“The easiest decision in the history of decisions:” that's the tagline of the Capital One commercial released in 2022, where you are the one deciding which saving bank fits best for you, and the choice is compared to a funny, paradoxical situation.How much do most celebrities get paid for commercials? ›
Most voice-over actors get paid between $3,000 and $5,000 per ad. Of course, this might sound like a lot of money for little work but, in reality, it is not as simple as it seems.What does State Farm pay Patrick Mahomes? ›
|Name||Patrick Mahomes Jr.|
|Source of Wealth||Professional Football, Endorsements, Investments|
|Salary||Approximately $45 million per year.|
|Endorsements||BioSteel, Adidas, Oakley, Head & Shoulders, State Farm, Bose, DirecTV, Essentia Water and Electronic Arts.|
Laurel is one of Toyota commercials actresses. The actresses receive an annual salary of $60,000, 67% higher than the national average for all actresses.
How much does the Verizon girl make? ›
And hopefully all of that makes her as relatable as a character in a 30-second commercial can be." Lily's informative and good-natured relatability has translated into about $3 million in earnings for Vayntrub, according to Celebrity Net Worth.How much does Shaq make on commercials? ›
During his NBA career, Shaq earned $292 million in salary alone. He earned well over $200 million from endorsements during that same time period. Even though he has been retired for many years, Shaq still earns around $60 million per year from endorsements and various business endeavors to this day.How do you become a TV commercial actor? ›
The fastest way to get started is to sign up for a free or paid profile on one of the casting websites outlined at the beginning of this article. You can then start submitting to auditions, build up a reel and resume over the course of six months, and then look for a commercial agent.How much does a soap opera actor make? ›
Top soap opera stars can earn as much as $300,000 or more per year, while low-level soap opera actors can earn as little as $10,841 per year. Soap opera talent that falls into the middle receive salaries that range from $52,946 to $133,501 per year.How much money does Charles Barkley make in commercials? ›
Charles Barkley Endorsements
Capital One, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Nike, Right Guard, T-Mobile. These are some of his notable endorsements. He is said to have made around $5-$10 million in his endorsements during and after his playing days.
Chris Paul's Endorsements
Chris Paul earns around $8 million from endorsements alone. His endorsements include Panini, Nike, Air Jordan, Tissot, and State Farm.
Shaq owns nine Papa John's in Atlanta and has been the spokesman and director of the pizza chain since 2019. He also earns 20 cents for each Shaqaroni pizza that is sold. With $3 million worth of pizzas sold just in 2020, that means Shaq made $600,000 by using his name to sell pizza.