Your heart skipped a beat when Rugged Husband swerved around a squirrel, expertly maneuvering that fancy new SUV your family deserves. You swooned as Charming Bartender served the sexy woman who’d ordered that fancy new liqueur tasting of jungle fruits and nighttime. And you chuckled when it was revealed that Hungry Lawyer was never actually a lawyer, but had only disguised himself as one in order to nab the opposing counselor’s fancy new taco with the built-in jalapenos.
Three very different roles requiring three radically different styles of facial hair, yes, but all belonging to one man: me, the actor appearing in nearly every commercial this year.
If you thought I would do you a favor and move on to an ABC Family pilot after my acclaimed portrayal as Man Wearing Inappropriate Khakis during Dockers’ easy-iron campaign, think again. Commercial actors do not operate under your preconceived understanding of career progression and fame. We are experts trained solely in the classical art of advertising acting and, since the advent of television, we have grown increasingly efficient at it.
Like most marks you probably thought commercial acting was an unfortunate limitation. That’s because you’re the rube here and are kept willfully unaware of the benefits.
As commercial actors, we alone possess the tools necessary to reach the highest levels of theatrical discipline. Our ability to recognize sensory stimulation, for example, is quadrupled that of the standard actor. During my tenure I have acquired over 10,000 facial reactions to register the three most prominent sensations of the trade: cotton-twill comfort, bargain attainment and chicken tonight.
If that wasn’t enough of a perk, commercial actors have the ability to walk onto any city street right now and take a poll to determine which chunky salsa you prefer, without any trace of a permit. But perhaps most impressive of all, we belong to the .0001% minority of the world’s population that can distinguish Diet Dr. Pepper from ordinary Dr. Pepper.
Do not for a second presuppose that we’re some acting-efficient, autonomous mass. Commercial actors do not unionize or collaborate. Each individual talent works his entire career to peak during one calendar year of exposure. 2011 is the Year of Me, which I am currently enjoying. Doors have opened and will not close… until the passing of the winter solstice. After that time, those once opened doors will abruptly slam in my face, and the room in which I remain will fill with noxious gas or bullets (they never tell you).
Think about it, when is the last time you saw a popular commercial actor from yesteryear performing off-Broadway or even walking down the street? Never. Because you cannot maintain a high level of recognition without also publicly taking on the unfortunate effects of aging—an affliction that corporations frown upon quite severely. It is the ultimate sin: tainting a Fortune 500 company’s glistening pop reputation by growing old.
Like all commercial actors, I am aware of the burden I carry and fully accept my fate.
I mean, imagine me, the pinnacle of the 30-second spot, associated with my jogging sneaker ad a few years down the line. My hairline perhaps receded past the permitted boundary or my good calf muscle sagging without prior authorization. Either way, what egg on the face of Reebok. And would any member of the target female demographic ever want to buy a Reebok sneaker after witnessing what the innovative cushion technology had seemingly done to my body? Not any sexy 25 to 40-year-old I would respect.
One thing is for sure—regardless of how I die, you will remember my legacy. When you re-watch that DVR’ed spring season finale you are saving until deletion, you will fast forward by my face as I get on a train and fall in love thanks to that app that lets me buy last-second train tickets and be creepy and you will think, “I wonder if I could ever be that interesting.”
And I will be long dead by then. Commercially dead. Pretty much identical to the true death eternal, but two-to-three minutes longer than you are willing to endure.