In an episode of Mad Men, Peggy and her co-workers act out a potential TV ad featuring football hero Joe Namath for advertising genius Dick Whitman, a.k.a. Don Draper. After pulling off the script without a hitch, the crew is disappointed as Draper takes one drag of a cigarette and tells them “putting celebrities in commercials is lazy.”
Perhaps that was the standard theory in the 1960s, but it would soon pass. Over the decades, ad agencies realized that putting celebrities – especially Hollywood celebs – in commercials was a three-fold winner, appealing to fans of the actor, the most recent hit film they were in, and the product. There have also been plenty of Tinseltown A-listers who worked in commercials long before their film and TV acting reputations were etched in glory.
Here’s a list of 15 great TV commercials starring leading men and women of the silver screen.