Actors don’t always need an Oscar or Emmy to become a household name. Some of our favorite TV ads’ highest-paid commercial actors are just as recognizable as A-list celebrities. But have you ever wondered how lucrative it is to be the face of a product or service? We rounded up some of the most iconic spokespeople and corporate mascots of our time—find out who they are, why we love them, and each commercial actor’s net worth.
Character: The Pine-Sol Lady
Net Worth: $2.5 Million
Diane Amos first won our hearts in 1993 as a relatable homemaker who delivered the sassy signature line, “That’s the power of Pine-Sol, baby.” But the performer, who got her start in improv and stand-up, almost didn’t make the cut as a commercial actress.
“It took a long, long time for them to make a decision,” she said in an OWN interview. “You know, I’m a big woman, I’m black, my teeth were gapped…there’s a lot of reasons why a company might not hire me…”
As it turns out, Amos was a breath of fresh air in a world of dainty domestic figures. Today, she says she’s recognized in places as unexpected as Jamaica and Belize.
“Pine-Sol has given me a chance to connect with a whole lot of people who might not necessarily have spoken to me and I enjoy that,” she told LinkedIn in 2017.
Pine-Sol has zero regrets about picking Amos as their longtime spokesperson. The company website even dedicated an entire page to the real woman behind the commercials, revealing that her likability on screen is a reflection of her authentic nature.
“The way I make a powerful difference is to spread myself around,” says Amos. “I volunteer. I speak to students and encourage them to follow their dreams. I help out teachers at local schools. I teach my kids about service and get them involved in the community with me.”
Amos’ estimated net worth factors in some unusual income sources, including a hot streak on a number of game shows in the 1980s. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, she won $14,750 on Wheel of Fortune, $13,000 and a trip to London on The $25,000 Pyramid, and $18,400 from Super Password.
She’s also had a number of small parts in films and TV shows (Sweet November, Patch Adams, Nash Bridges). However, there’s no doubt that almost three decades as the face of Pine-Sol accounts for the bulk of her wealth—even if she has declined to discuss the details of her contract.
Character: T-Mobile Girl
Net Worth: $3 Million
Always dressed in a signature shade of pink, former T-Mobile spokesperson Carly Foulkes sold audiences on the miracle of 4G technology from 2010 until 2013. The Canadian model told PC Magazine in 2011 that she was lucky to get the gig, considering she mispronounced the company name during her audition.
“I’m from Toronto, Canada. It’s funny,” explained Foulkes. “We say ‘mo-bile’ [rhymes with ‘smile’] in Canada so when I auditioned for the thing I said ‘T-Mobile’ [in the Canadian way] and they had to stop me and say no, that’s not how you say it!”
Foulkes had some big shoes to fill. Prior to her debut, T-Mobile was repped by Catherine Zeta-Jones. The company played around with Foulkes’ image over the years, starting her out as a girl-next-door type and later rebranding her as a sexy biker.
However, by 2013, Shakira signed on as a corporate spokesperson. A T-Mobile rep told the Huffington Post that Foulkes was “still a part of the company’s brand family,” but she would not be featured in upcoming ad campaigns.
Foulkes is reportedly worth a good chunk of change thanks to T-Mobile, but she also earned her keep as a professional model. Her face has been featured in ads for major brands including Rugby Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy’s, and Tommy Hilfiger. She also graced the cover of Elle Mexico in 2009. These days, she’s working on a music career as a solo artist.
Character: AT&T Girl
Net Worth: $3 Million
You know her as the bubbly (but fictional) AT&T salesperson Lily Adams, but Milana Vayntrub’s talents aren’t limited to selling cell phone plans. The Uzbekistan-born, Los-Angeles raised actress is also an activist who uses her fame to draw attention to the European migrant crisis. Perhaps her empathetic heart is why she’s so genuinely likable on screen.
“I think Milana’s Lily resonates with audiences because she’s a multi-dimensional character in a way that’s rare for commercials,” Hank Perlman, who directed many of Vauntrub’s AT&T spots, told Adweek. “We try as hard as we can not only to make her funny but to make her as strong, smart, and human as possible. And hopefully, all of that makes her as relatable as a character in a 30-second commercial can be.”
AT&T initially employed Vayntrub between 2013 and 2016, but she was so popular that she reprised her role as Lily in Covid-themed commercials starting in 2020. She even shot and produced the spots herself at home.
Vayntrub’s estimated net worth is certainly higher than that of a true AT&T salesperson. In addition to the commercials that made her famous, she’s had modest success on TV (This is Us, Silicon Valley) and as a voice actress (Marvel Rising, New Warriors).
Character: Wendy’s Girl
Net Worth: $3 Million
Morgan Smith-Goodwin is best known as Red, or the Wendy’s Girl, in TV commercials for the fast-food restaurant chain Wendy’s. No, she’s not actually the real Wendy (daughter of founder Dave Thomas), but from 2012 to 2013, the Alabama native inspired a fandom that loved her just as much as a chocolate Frosty or pretzel sandwich.
Think of Red as a grown-up millennial inspired by Wendy’s pigtailed mascot.
“We’re thrilled that Morgan Smith Goodwin… has resonated with our customers since we first introduced her,” Liz Geraghty, vice president of brand marketing for Wendy’s, told Yahoo News. “Red has been our most successful effort since the Dave Thomas advertising campaign in the 1990s.”
Geraghty added, “[Smith-Goodwin] is a brand advocate with a quick wit and engaging personality that America has gravitated toward.”
Wendy’s probably accounts for much of Smith-Goodwin’s estimated net worth. However, she has also found success without the red dye job that put her on the map. In addition to her Wendy’s spots, she’s appeared on Veep, Boardwalk Empire, and the Netflix series Messiah.
Character: Trivago Guy
Net Worth: $5 Million
Who would have thought that a stubbled, silver-haired dad could sell plane tickets like hotcakes? Not even actor Tim Williams, otherwise known as the Trivago Guy, expected his role to blow up the way it did.
“The Trivago Guy. Crazy, huh? Who would have thought?” he asked the Globe and Mail in 2014. “I have been propositioned… I get mail pos and neg every day… it amuses me.”
Williams said his only direction for Trivago commercials was “basically to be real.” Not only did it work for the company’s bottom line, but it spawned an internet explosion of memes, fan fiction, and even a fake Twitter feed.
Selecting Williams to play a casual but foxy spokesman was a no-brainer for the German travel booking site.
“Women have a lot of… purchasing power when it comes to leisure travel,” Jon Eichelberger, regional manager of Trivago North, told Elle. “There’s something about him. We wanted to capture it, and I think we did a good job. People like to talk about him.”
Unfortunately, Williams’ character faded in popularity since his 2013 debut. A 2017 Skift report noted that his TV spots were replaced with commercials featuring a Trivago Girl. And in 2019, after Williams was busted for driving while intoxicated, a Trivago rep told ABC News that drinking and driving went against the company’s culture.
Despite this, Williams’ estimated net worth is impressive, largely thanks to his other gigs. In addition to small TV appearances in the 1990s (The Sopranos, Law & Order), he played an American rock star for three years on the German soap opera Guten Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten.
He’s also a musician in real life. In 2014, he described his music to Rolling Stone as “a mix of some bluesy rock with a ’90s feel and a ballad thrown in for the ladies.”
Net Worth: $5 Million
Put it this way: actor Dean Winters is so well known for being a menace in Allstate commercials that even his mother refers to him as his character’s name, Mayhem. Williams has been the insurance company’s pitchman since 2010, delivering destruction and laughs in equal measure.
“When they offered me the commercial, I said no,” he told the Huffington Post in 2019. “And my smart ass remark was, ‘I became an actor so that I wouldn’t have to put on a suit and sell insurance.'”
Mayhem’s popularity has fluctuated over the years. In 2011, Allstate CEO Thomas Wilson said on an earnings call that business was “way up” due to the success of the campaign (via Insider). But the following year, revenue remained flat. By 2020, AdAge reported that Mayhem ads were put on ice; Allstate would neither confirm nor deny that Winters’ character was permanently retired.
Winters’ reported net worth is certainly not built on Allstate alone. Prior to appearing in the insurance commercials, he was an established actor who had parts in HBO’s Oz, FX’s Rescue Me, and NBC’s 30 Rock. (His popularity on the latter even convinced Tina Fey to join him in a 2019 Allstate ad).
Character: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
Company: Old Spice
Net Worth: $5 Million
Former football player Isaiah Mustafa introduced himself as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” in a 2010 ad campaign for Old Spice. His over-the-top machismo, silly monologues, and (let’s be honest) ripped bod made him an overnight success. He has since co-starred in spots with Fabio, Terry Crews, and Kevin Hart, and AdAge later named the commercials one of the top ad campaigns of the 21st century.
According to the ads’ creators Wieden+Kennedy, Old Spice’s goal was to increase body wash sales by 15 percent. But in May 2010 (less than four months after the campaign debuted), sales of Old Spice Red Zone Body Wash smashed projections, increasing 60 percent from the previous year. By July 2010, sales had doubled.
Today, Mustafa’s character lives on. In an updated series of ads, he plays an embarrassing dad to a Gen Z son who uses his own Old Spice products.
Mustafa’s varied interests have contributed to his estimated net worth. In addition to the Old Spice commercials, he had small acting roles in various TV shows and soap operas (Ugly Betty, Nikita, Days of Our Lives). More recently he has been landing movie roles, such as playing the adult Mike Hanlon in It Chapter Two. He also owned JoJo’s BBQ, a now-shuttered restaurant in West Hollywood.
But none of it would have been possible without a random game show appearance. In 2010, Mustafa told Yahoo Sports that he once scored $47,000 by competing on The Weakest Link. He spent the money on acting classes, which eventually led to his breakthrough gig with Old Spice.
Company: Progressive Insurance
Net Worth: $6 Million
Stephanie Courtney’s claim to fame is playing Flo, the perky fictional salesperson for insurance giant Progressive. The character debuted in 2008 and has appeared in more than 100 ads to date.
Courtney, who trained in improv, says she channeled her mother to earn the role.
“What they were looking for was basically a friendly neighborhood waitress,” she explained. “She is super friendly and nice, almost to the point of madness. I was like, ‘I can do that.’ I went straight to my mom and I credit her with Flo’s personality. I said, ‘Yes, I can become Jane Courtney!’”
Over a decade later, Flo is a TV icon recognized by millions of people, whether they are Progressive customers or not.
Flo has been an unstoppable success for Progressive—so much that even company executives can’t quite put their finger on why.
“If you see Flo 15 to 20 times a month, multiply that by 10 years—I don’t care if you’re Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Ellen DeGeneres—whoever it is, if they’re trying to sell you something, you’d probably get tired of that person,” Progressive CMO Jeff Charney told Fast Company in 2018. “The data is showing us the opposite about Flo. That’s a very difficult thing to achieve.”
Courtney’s estimated net worth includes paychecks for appearing in ads for McDonald’s, Quaker Oats, Skittles, and Toyota. But there’s no doubt that her highest earnings have come from Progressive—even if she hasn’t disclosed the exact figure. Celebrity Net Worth speculates that she would make as much as $2 million a year for the company’s commercials, depending on the terms of her contract.
Character: The Most Interesting Man In The World
Company: Dos Equis
Net Worth: $8 Million
Jonathan Goldsmith is best known as “The Most Interesting Man in the World”—a concept and title born from a 2007 Dos Equis ad campaign. The suave and impossibly charismatic character repped the beer company for nine years until a final commercial sent their spokesman into Mars for an epic retirement.
It turns out Goldsmith is as interesting as the role he played. According to a profile from his alma mater, Boston University, he spent years as a starving artist before finding fame in his late sixties. In his earlier years, he says he worked as a garbage collector and snuck into Bar mitzvahs for free food. He found success in the 1990s as a marketing exec, but business eventually went south. When he finally scored an audition for Dos Equis, he was broke and sleeping in his 1965 Ford pickup.
“To be an interesting person, I think you have to be interested in things,” he said. “Get out of the rat race. Take that time to go inside yourself and explore silence and experience dreams.”
According to Andrew Katz, vice president of marketing for Dos Equis, sales nearly tripled since “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign was introduced. Nevertheless, they dropped Goldsmith in 2016 to appeal to a younger audience.
“Culture has changed very dramatically,” Katz told USA Today. “Our Millennial drinker has changed quite dramatically, and the competition has only exploded with the advent of craft [beer]. We just want to make sure that the [Most Interesting Man] story evolves.”
Goldsmith made a small fortune for his iconic role. Unfortunately, we know this because of an ugly legal battle between the actor and his former agent. In 2015, Butch Klein sued Goldsmith for breach of contract, claiming he wasn’t paid 10 percent of Goldsmith’s earnings from his contract with the beer company. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Goldsmith made nearly $1 million per year for the job.
His client countersued, claiming Klein and his company “breached their fiduciary duty by disclosing confidential terms of his 2012 contract with the beermaker.”
Nevertheless, Goldsmith continues to work as a spokesperson, albeit for a different brand. In 2017, he became the face of Astral Tequila. Making a dig at his former employer, he appears in a commercial and delivers the line, “I told you… I don’t always drink beer.”
Character: ‘Can You Hear Me Now’ Test Man
Net Worth: $10 Million
Can you hear me now? In 2002, those five words brought actor Paul Marcarelli overnight fame. He delivered that catchphrase as the bespectacled “Test Man” in Verizon commercials until 2011, earning a spot in the pantheon of TV ad icons.
The concept of the “Test Man” was unusual because he highlighted superior signal quality over plan affordability, but the idea was a success. According to CBC, the company’s customer base increased by 10 percent within 24 months of the campaign’s launch. It then jumped another 15 percent the following year.
Despite the company’s success, Marcarelli initially didn’t revel in the sudden attention. “The reality was, it was a job,” he told The Atlantic. The role even brought cruel moments: in 2011, at his grandmother’s funeral, he heard a family friend whisper, “Can you hear me now?” as her body was lowered into the ground.
Marcarelli didn’t appreciate the details of his contract, either, which prohibited him from shooting any other commercials and strictly forbade him to speak about the job in interviews. But the actor got the last word. After his deal with Verizon expired, he became the spokesperson for rival brand Sprint.
But before his time with Verizon was up, the phone giant got optimum mileage out of Marcarelli. The actor said his contract required him to work a couple of hundred days a year, which was split between filming up to 40 commercials and attending live events.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Marcarelli earned up to $3 million a year at the peak of his contract. The site speculates that his many years with the company allowed for significant pay bumps, residuals, and an exclusivity buyout. He continues to build his fortune with his Sprint deal, which he uses to fund his career as a filmmaker.
Character: Official Spokesperson
Net Worth: $20 Million
Dennis Haysbert didn’t rely on a schtick or character to become a commercial icon—all he needed was his unmistakable deep voice. Since 2003, he has served as the spokesperson for Allstate insurance, asking viewers, “That’s Allstate’s stand. Are you in good hands?”
Like the insurance company’s other pitchman, Dean Winters, Haysbert was already an established actor when earned the role.
“I think I got that role because I was President David Palmer on 24 and people saw me as being very trustworthy. And that’s a good reason. Because I am,” he told Edge.
“Yes, you can be entertained and be entertained…but you can also be entertained and told the truth,” he continued. “And that’s what I, and the company, have chosen to do.”
It’s no surprise that Haysbert’s deep, distinctive delivery is a match for selling insurance.
“We really wanted to concentrate on talking about the way people buy and use insurance,” Jeanie Caggiano, senior vice president of advertising agency Leo Burnett, told the Chicago Tribune in 2003. “Allstate’s competitors have changed the conversation. It’s much more important to move the conversation back to what’s important. It’s straight-talking, no-nonsense, and even blunt sometimes.”
Haysbert’s estimated net worth is significantly higher than other commercial actors—and it should be. After all, he’s been acting professionally since the 1970s and has had starring roles in hit TV shows like 24.
However, his salary from Allstate is no small sum. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he probably makes up to $4 million a year by lending his trustworthy image to the brand.