Who are the Actors Behind Some of TV’s Most Popular Commercial Characters?

Kevin Miles State Farm Jake
State Farm

No one watches television for the commercials, but some actors have made a living off of playing “spokes-character” roles in popular ad campaigns. In fact, many of their characters are so well known that they need only be referred to by first name. (Think: Flo, Mayhem, Jake from State Farm.)

Some actors in the gallery below are rising talents, others are established TV stars, but they’ve all starred in ads that might just get viewers to stay in the room, slow down their fast-forwarding, or take the TV off mute. Like a good neighbor, these TV commercial stars are there!

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Laurel Coppock Toyota Jan
Toyota

Laurel Coppock: Toyota’s Jan

Coppock, the actress behind Toyota’s fictional car salesperson, has guest-starred on Modern Family, The Office, and Arrested Development, and she’s one of the stars of the YouTube comedy series The BreakWomb.

Stephanie Courtney Progressive Flo
Progressive

Stephanie Courtney: Progressive’s Flo

For more than a decade now, Courtney has played the perky, retro-chic Flo for insurance company Progressive, but she also appeared (sans cat-eye makeup) in recurring roles on Mad Men and The Goldbergs.

Dennis Haysbert Allstate
Allstate

Allstate’s Dennis Haysbert

Haysbert, presumably playing himself, has been asking potential Allstate insurance customers if they’re “in good hands” since 2003, around the time he was bringing the same gravitas to his role as President David Palmer on action drama series 24.

Kevin Miles State Farm Jake
State Farm

Kevin Miles: State Farm’s Jake

Miles was an up-and-coming actor with guest-starring roles on S.W.A.T. and Criminal Minds on his resume when he landed his role as the new “Jake,” a reincarnation of the State Farm agent on the other end of a 3 a.m. call from a married customer in one of the company’s best-known ads. And in a Super Bowl commercial this year, Jake got an A-list rapper as his stand-in: Drake… from State Farm.

Brandon Moynihan Hotels.com Captain Obvious
Hotels.com

Brandon Moynihan: Hotels.com’s Captain Obvious

This hotel booking website made a character out of what was once just a sarcastic comeback, hiring Moynihan to play Captain Obvious in 2014. In an interview published on LinkedIn, the actor said he gets recognized a lot at airports and at his kids’ elementary school, and that the biggest difference between him and his famous character is that the Captain has more hair and better posture.

J.K. Simmons Farmers Insurance Nathaniel Burke
Farmers Insurance

J.K. Simmons: Farmers Insurance’s Nathaniel Burke

Aside from his role as a tweed-wearing University of Farmers professor in more than 65 commercials for Farmers Insurance, Simmons is also known for his dramatic roles in the TV shows Oz and The Closer and his Oscar-winning performance in the film Whiplash.

Milana Vayntrub AT&T Lily
AT&T

Milana Vayntrub: AT&T’s Lily

After playing AT&T store employee Lily from 2013 to 2016, Vayntrub returned to the part in 2020. In the intervening years, she had an eight-episode arc on This Is Us, playing Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) love interest, Sloane Sandburg.

Dean Winters Allstate Mayhem
Allstate

Dean Winters: Allstate’s Mayhem

This Law & Order: SVU and 30 Rock alum brings real Fight Club energy to his role as Mayhem, a personification of the chaos that Allstate says it can protect homeowners and car owners from. His former 30 Rock costar Tina Fey even joined in on the fun for a few commercials in 2019.