Saturday, May 22, 2004
Why one actor suddenly pops up in ad after ad after ad.
Ad Nauseam - By Seth Stevenson:
"Why does this happen? Why does one actor capture the fancy of all the agencies, all at once? And do the marketers care that the face of their product is the face of five or six other products, too?

To answer these and other questions, I tracked down one of these commercial acting champs. Ad Report Card readers, I give you Joel Moore, who in the past several months has appeared in ads for Best Buy (he's at a Rolling Stones concert), Kohl's (he's a mean-spirited ice-cream man), Castrol (a daydreaming lab tech), eBay (a crooning auction enthusiast), and Cingular ('I call it my 'They're my minutes and I'm keeping them' plan!'). In all, Moore says he's done 10 national spots in about the last year or so.

Why does an actor get hot like this? Partly, says Moore, it's that 'they love fresh faces.' Moore's got a unique look: 'I'm not completely a character actor, and not a leading man. I'm somewhere in-between.' With rangy limbs, outsized features, and a goofy voice, he's a distinctive package. He's also the right face at the right time. Moore's manager, Rachelle Ryan (of Ryan Management), says he has a certain 'geeky Gen-X thing' that's become a sought-after spokesperson aesthetic.

But it's not just having a fresh look, or the right look. Contrary to what we see in most national spots, it does require some talent to act in commercials. 'Sometimes in casting ads they're looking for a type,' says Ryan, 'but often they're just looking for something unique, and the script won't give you much direction. That's Joel's art—he can play around with the material, and improv, and in the audition he'll actually help show the agency how they can market their product.' Creating an appealing character out of thin air—a character that can be expressed in 30 seconds and is appropriate for the product—is no easy thing. Moore spent two years at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival before his first ad role; Rachael Harris was in the famed improv troupe the Groundlings."

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