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Tips & Tricks

These Brands Built Their Own Celebrity Spokespeople from Scratch

A recurring character can provide a powerful storyline in a content marketing campaign, as Old Spice, Progressive, and others have found.

Want to promote your brand with the power and prestige of big celebrities but don’t have the millions in your budget to afford them? No problem, just create your own celebrities from scratch by following the recipes used in the cases below.

Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice Guy

This guy was a pro football player, but it was for NFL Europe, not the regular NFL. Nothing to sneeze at, but far from mainstream athletic fame. Old Spice picked Mustafa out for having the right combination of suave, rakish confidence and rare smoothness and today he’s known to many millions as the face (and body) of an historic cologne and, no doubt, the fantasy object of way too many women.

Jonathan Goldsmith as The Most Interesting Man in the World for Dos Equis

It’s pretty cool getting to act in Hollywood productions that range from from Perry Mason to a John Wayne film to Murder She Wrote. But you probably never knew Jonathan Goldsmith’s face or voice until Mexican beer brewer Dos Equis wisely chose the gravelly, distinguished American actor to play a jet setting ultra-masculine sophisticate who is described by a narrator using hilariously exaggerated compliments.

Stephanie Courtney as Flo the Progressive Girl

Stephanie Courtney was widely respected as a member of LA’s esteemed Groundlings sketch/improv troupe, but it was not until she became the star of an unending string of Progressive Insurance commercials, as her flashier, perkier alter ego Flo, that she became widely wealthy.

Eric Violette as the Band Frontman for

Eric Violette, who plays the fictional “Band Frontman” in the commercials, is both impish and a little bit snarling in a modern rock cliché kind of way. But really, Violette’s a likable, good looking kid whose goofy songs about bad credit and identity theft woes caught on big-time in heavily aired ads. In reality, Violette is a French Canadian singer of the hard rock band God Against God, whose thick accent had all of his dialogue overdubbed for American TV.

Tom Bodett for Motel 6

Even though he’s heard and not seen, Tom Bodett’s aural presence and projected mystique in Motel 6 ads make you think you’re supposed to know who this guy is. The way he says “This is Tom Bodett…” he’s got to be famous, right? No, not really. Bodett built houses in Alaska and contributed content to NPR, but it was Motel 6’s commercials, which acted like he was another Garrison Keillor or Will Rogers, that pretty much self-fulfilled that reality. Today the guy is a legitimate fringe celebrity, known for “leaving the light on.”

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