Ranking the Likelihood That a Celebrity Voice-over Actor Actually Uses the Endorsed Product

Some stars are happy to show their faces in commercials, lending their celebrity to endorse the products they truly believe in, as Tina Fey is doing with that Garnier Nutrisse hair dye, or Matthew Broderick did with his Super Bowl riff on Ferris Bueller for Honda. Others try to keep a lid on their shilling by doing it only overseas. A third class is prepared to do TV ads — if all you hear is a disembodied voice. But if a celebrity’s not willing to show her face in support of a brand, can we REALLY believe it has her full endorsement? Here we’ve collected a list of stars who’ve provided voice-overs in commercials, considered what their work tells us about the products they’ve promoted — and, for good measure, ranked them according to how likely they are actually to make use of them, from most likely to least likely.

Product: Stevia/Sugar in the Raw


Endorser: Frances McDormand
Which Past Role Best Prepared Her for the Job? For the sugar: incredibly hyperactive football superfan Bunny in Lone Star. For sugar substitute Stevia: health nut Linda in Burn After Reading.
What Does Her Voice Communicate About the Products? McDormand’s matter-of-fact intonation lets us know there is nothing fussy or overengineered about them. (Unlike, say, Truvia, which is sold with that twee Garfunkel & Oates-inflected jingle.)
In What Context Would She Be Most Likely to Use It? On her morning bowl of Corn Flakes. (You gotta eat a breakfast!)

Product: Bounty Paper Towels

Endorser: Lisa Loeb
Which Past Role Best Prepared Her for the Job? I can’t say for certain what she did as a guest star on The Andy Dick Show, but I’m going to guess that its eponymous star did not spend much time cleaning up after himself, perhaps requiring her to pick up the slack.
What Does Her Voice Communicate About the Product? Smart people who wear glasses buy Bounty, and so should you!
In What Context Would She Be Most Likely to Use It? When Ethan Hawke stops by (unannounced and uninvited) and leaves goatee hairs and loose tobacco from his roll-your-own cigarettes all over the coffee table.

Product: Radio Shack

Endorser: Ludacris
Which Past Role Best Prepared Him for the Job? If any location on Earth ever required a good pair of noise-canceling headphones, it’s the set of Crash.
What Does His Voice Communicate About the Company? Radio Shack has gangster cred, in the sense that if anything goes down while you’re in one, the cops might not show up for a while.
In What Context Would He Be Most Likely to Use Its Products? This is a bit of a cheat, since Ludacris has his own signature line of headphones sold exclusively at Radio Shack. So presumably he uses those headphones any time he’s within view of a camera?

Product: Häagen-Dazs

Endorser: Campbell Scott
Which Past Role Best Prepared Him for the Job? Joe Ross in The Spanish Prisoner, victim of an elaborate con — sort of like the customers of this vaguely European-sounding brand of overpriced ice cream that is actually totally American.
What Does His Voice Communicate About the Product? That Häagen-Dazs is the scion of a storied ice cream dynasty, much as Scott is with acting.
In What Context Would He Be Most Likely to Use It? Placing a single, perfectly scooped dollop in a champagne flute and sharing it with the most elegant woman in New York. (Or in like a milkshake or something.)

Product: Wells Fargo/Wachovia


Endorser: Jon Cryer
Which Past Role Best Prepared Him for the Job? Playing Alan Harper on Two and a Half Men, spending all that time with Charlie Sheen, probably hammered home the importance of careful and judicious financial planning.
What Does His Voice Communicate About the Product? Banking is kind of dorky, but when the shit goes down in your life, you will be grateful for its stability.
In What Context Would He Be Most Likely to Use It? Taking out a mortgage on a sensible house he intends to share with one partner, who probably isn’t a former/current porn star.

Product: Lay’s


Endorser: Kyle Chandler
Which Past Role Best Prepared Him for the Job? Originating the role of Coach Eric Taylor in the TV series Friday Night Lights prepared Chandler to play all the world’s best and most admirable people — like the ones who eat chips and don’t care if you know.
What Does His Voice Communicate About the Product? Lay’s potato chips are upstanding, trustworthy, and will push you to be your very best.
In What Context Would He Be Most Likely to Use It? Watching East Dillon Lions highlight videos in his office at East Dillon High, because I am not prepared to accept that Kyle Chandler is not actually Coach Taylor.

Product: Delta


Endorser: Donald Sutherland
Which Past Role Best Prepared Him for the Job? The disappointment that Ordinary People‘s Calvin Jarrett felt in his remaining, non-dead son is probably comparable to the disappointment most airline passengers feel about any given flight experience.
What Does His Voice Communicate About the Product? It … might be Canadian?
In What Context Would He Be Most Likely to Use It? Whenever he can’t hitch a ride on Robert Redford’s Gulfstream.

Product: Time Warner Cable Signature Home


Endorser: Kate Walsh
Which Past Role Best Prepared Her for the Job? Nicki Fifer on The Drew Carey Show, a series full of TV enthusiasts.
What Does Her Voice Communicate About the Product? It’s mature, yet sexy. You’re never sorry when you run across it, but when it’s not right in front of you, you kind of forget it exists.
In What Context Would She Be Most Likely to Use It? When she wants to check, from any room in her house, whether Private Practice is still on.

Product: Walt Disney World


Endorser: Susan Sarandon
Which Past Role Best Prepared Her for the Job? Actual legit Disney villainness Queen Narissa in Enchanted.
What Does Her Voice Communicate About the Product? Walt Disney World is a good vacation spot for people who like younger men, are great at ping-pong, and have won at least one Oscar.
In What Context Would She Be Most Likely to Use It? Kissing up to Disney for another role? Or just taking her kids for fun/churros.

Product: National Car Rental


Endorser: Patrick Stewart
Which Past Role Best Prepared Him for the Job? Like National customers, Professor Charles Xavier of X-Men is comfortable tooling around in a wheeled conveyance and feeling like a superhero.
What Does His Voice Communicate About the Product? It’s so loaded with testosterone that it went bald at an early age.
In What Context Would He Be Most Likely to Use It? Whenever he can’t hitch a ride in Ian McKellen’s Range Rover.

Product: Nook

Endorser: Sarah Jessica Parker
Which Past Role Best Prepared Her for the Job? Flight of the Navigator‘s Carolyn McAdams — another lady surrounded by and comfortable with technology.
What Does Her Voice Communicate About the Product? An e-reader might seem complicated to use, but even someone who spent the ’00s talking about shoes can probably use it!
In What Context Would She Be Most Likely to Use It? To skim enough of Candace Bushnell’s latest book to convince Candace Bushnell that she’d read it.

Product: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

Endorser: Jeremy Sisto
Which Past Role Best Prepared Him for the Job? On Six Feet Under, Billy Chenowith had a very unorthodox method of dealing with an unwanted mark.
What Does His Voice Communicate About the Product? Though we may fondly remember what it was like when it and we were younger, it’s matured convincingly.
In What Context Would He Be Most Likely to Use It? When his full-time live-in housekeeper has a day off and his wife’s out of town and there is literally no other person around to clean up a mess but the mess seriously can’t wait.

Product: Marshalls

Endorser: Brenda Strong
Which Past Role Best Prepared Her for the Job? Dead suburban mom Mary Alice on Desperate Housewives — because there can’t be much difference between observing the depravity of a particular cul-de-sac and observing the sick bargains available at a discount department store.
What Does Her Voice Communicate About the Product? It’s so great that even dead women can’t stop talking about it!
In What Context Would She Be Most Likely to Use It? To prove a point about endorsing such a downmarket brand — after which she’ll send her personal assistant to return whatever she might have bought.

Product: Hormel Pepperoni

Endorser: Mary Steenburgen
Which Past Role Best Prepared Her for the Job? What’s Eating Gilbert Grape‘s Betty Carver, a fan of eating sensuously with her young paramour.
What Does Her Voice Communicate About the Product? It’s an American classic that will loyally adhere to anything you pair it with.
In What Context Would She Be Most Likely to Use It? Given that her husband, Ted Danson, is basically a vegan, I suspect this is not an item that’s often stocked in her fridge.

Product: Bing

Endorser: Ty Burrell
Which Past Role Best Prepared Him for the Job? Enrique Colon, one of the redundant ad sales reps of In Good Company.
What Does His Voice Communicate About the Product? Like Modern Family‘s Phil, Bing tries really hard, but is ultimately an easily dismissed goof.
In What Context Would He Be Most Likely to Use It? No person has ever used Bing.

Tara Ariano listens to books on tape and secretly wishes the celebrity narrators were trying to sell her laundry detergent.

Filed Under: Kyle Chandler, Ludacris

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