The 12 Most Recognizable Advertising Characters

When it comes down to it, a capitalist society is all about buying and selling. To be able to sell whatever product you are pushing, it's important to have great brand visibility and have as many people see your product/service as possible. That's why the advertising business is a billion dollar industry in the United States. Every year, huge companies and corporations spend tons of cash on television ads to make sure their brand is on the radar of global consumers everywhere. In the following article, we have listed 12 of the most memorable characters from some of the most popular commercials on television and the internet.

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12 Dos Equis: Most Interesting Man In The World


It is quite fitting that we start off with the Dos Equis man, because this ad campaign is one of the most brilliant advertising campaigns in the last decade. The basis of these ads are quite ingenuous and they revolve around a stylish, all-knowing, world-traveling man who serves as an archetype for all men to aspire to. There are so many hilarious claims that are put forward about this imaginary “Most Interesting Man” – a few of them are below:

-He lives vicariously through himself

-The police often question him just because they find him interesting

-He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels

- His business card simply says “I’ll call you.”

It’s truly a genius campaign.

11  Annie the Chicken Queen – Popeyes


Popeyes is one of the popular fast food brands in the United States. They are known for Louisiana Southern-style offerings; namely their fried chicken and their popcorn shrimp. To go along with their wholesome, all-American image, their ad spokesperson is the feisty, no-nonsense matriarch, Anne The Chicken Queen. She reigns supreme over the Popeyes kitchen, and she has even drawn a little controversy on occasion because African-Americans have deemed her appearance to be slightly derogatory. But even with all that, Annie is still the primary Popeyes pitchwoman.

10  Allstate Insurance – Mayhem


After you’ve lived on this earth for a good amount of years, you gradually come to the realization that the world is highly unpredictable and anything can happen at any given time. That concept is the basis of the Mayhem commercials by Allstate. The campaign debuted in 2010, and the character of Mayhem (played by Dean Winters) is based loosely on Harvey Keitel in the Reservoir Dogs movie. One of the cool things about this character is that he sports the nicks and cuts from every previous ad to really drive home the fact that unpredictable mishaps are a continuous presence in life. All in all, it’s a really inventive theme for an Insurance advertising concept.

9  Flo – Progressive Insurance


She’s perhaps the most energetic and slightly unruly advertising character in this list, and we should add that she is also the most recognizable. The character’s name is “Flo” and she is always clad in all-white with her brand “Progressive” splashed across her chest. She started playing in the ads in 2008, and in the last six years, her popularity and notoriety have continued to escalate. The character is played by actress Stephanie Courtney and she is apparently worth a very decent $3 million dollars. Who said advertising work doesn’t pay?

8 Jared Fogle – Subway Sandwich


Who knew losing weight could be such a great business move? Well  Jared Fogle can certainly attest to that. At one point, he weighed over 400lb, but by switching to a healthier Subway sandwich diet and exercising, he shed hundreds of pounds and he now weighs 200lb. He was the main spokesperson for Subway for close to a decade starting in 2000, and during that time he has amassed a net worth of about $15 million. It’s also impressive to note that even after all these years, he has maintained his new healthy weight and even competed in marathons. He also gives inspirational speeches all over the country to overweight people trying to make a change. Well done Jared!

7  Wendy’s Girl - Wendy's Fast Food


Wendy’s sets itself apart from other fast food burger establishments in the United States by having a more Mom & Pop, hometown feel about them. It was founded by entrepreneur Dave Thomas in 1969, and he also appeared in most of his restaurant’s television ads till he passed away in 2002. One of his daughters, a redhead named Melinda was often used as the face of the brand, and she was actually the one who the restaurant was named after. Upon Dave’s passing, a new and spunkier female redhead character has become the main pitchwoman for Wendy’s. She definitely appeals to a younger and edgier demographic, and slowly yet surely, her image is becoming quite synonymous with the old-fashioned burger chain.

6  Gecko Lizard - GEICO


The competition within insurance companies is pretty fierce and the biggest companies do everything they can to set themselves apart from the competition. Geico has done a great job of this by pumping billions into their ad campaign and etching their tagline “15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance” into the minds of most TV viewers. One of their lead pitchmen is their funny, animated Gecko lizard who appears in several ad spots for the company. Other important characters in the Geico arsenal of memorable commercials include Maxwell The Pig, and their hilarious Caveman antics.

5 Matthew McConaughay - Lincoln 


McConaughay has really been living a charmed life in Hollywood lately. Every project he touches seems to turn to gold and his winning streak has been truly impressive: Dallas Buyer’s Club, True Detective & Interstellar.” With all his recent success, luxury car company Lincoln decided to give him a call, sign him a big check and have him star in their latest television ads. Sounds like a good idea, but the ad itself was a little baffling. It featured the handsome actor cruising in a Lincoln and rambling some type of esoteric philosophies (similar to his character in True Detective). This is one of those situations where the idea was excellent, but the execution was totally subpar.

4  Men’s Warehouse – George Zimmer


It’s a refrain that has become ingrained in the minds of so many television viewers in the United States. “You’re going to like the way you look – we guarantee it.” Those memorable lines are from the men’s suiting brand Men’s Warehouse, and that script has been delivered by the bearded founder of the company George Zimmer. However in a cruel turn of events, he was fired last year from his own company when the shareholders and executive board of his own company decided to fire him. That kind of thing can happen when your company goes public. But hey, he’s probably still extremely wealthy – the only problem is we’re going to miss him telling us how great we’re going to look in our suits.

3 Sonic Guys: Sonic Drive-In


It’s not often that you find national ad campaigns that follow a script that is mostly improvised. But that’s exactly what happens in the Two Guys advertising spots for Sonic, America’s #1 Drive-In restaurant. The two guys we are talking about are Peter Grosz and T.J. Jagodowski, two comedy writers who have been appearing in Sonic ads since 2002. These two funny buddies are great at making jokes about the most mundane and inconsequential topics, and you can’t help but laugh after listening to one of their Seinfeld-like exchanges. It may seem so simple and easy to pull off, but sometimes the easier it looks, the harder it is to execute.

2  Papa John - Papa John’s Pizza


A big part of Branding 101 is having a tagline that consumers can instantly relate to. With Papa John’s Pizza, their unforgettable tag is “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza. Papa John’s.” It’s even more effective when the person saying those words is the bold founder and entrepreneur John Schnatter who started the Kentucky based company in 1984. He’s 53-yrs-old and for so many years, he has served as the company’s head spokesperson inviting the masses to try out his delicious pizza slices. He has a net worth of over $600 million and you can expect to see him as the face of the brand for many more years.

1  Old Spice Man - Old Spice


In the age of the internet, it’s pretty amazing how quickly something can go viral. This is what happened in 2010 when the people at Old Spice released a series of hilarious, tongue-in-cheek videos based on the theme “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” The ad spots featured a young and studly muscle-bound American actor who was actually a former NFL practice squad wide receiver. It probably caught on so fast because the ladies really loved looking at him, and he was an inspiration for the guys to hit the gym a little harder. After this entire viral sensation, the actor in these ads Isaiah Mustafa became an instant YouTube star.

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