8 Stars Who Got Their Big Breaks in Super Bowl Ads

Business Insider

Playing to an audience of 108 million-plus viewers, a Super Bowl commercial serves as an unknown actor's ideal launching pad.

Actress, model, and former Miss USA Ali Landry can thank Doritos for helping her become a household name. Her first commercial was for the chip's 1998 Super Bowl ad, in which Landry did a series of complex acrobatic moves before eating a Doritos.

This year, there's no doubt that career-extra Jesse Heiman is on the brink of the big time after his starring role as tech nerd/Bar Refaeli make-out partner in Go Daddy's 2013 Super Bowl ad.

Heiman has been an extra — typically given names like "3rd UFO Enthusiast" or "Winking Comic Book Nerd" — in more than 200 television shows and movies, including "American Pie 2," "Spiderman," and "Entourage." But he has yet to get his big break.

"I hope this [ad] leads to the next step, whatever that may be," Heiman told Business Insider. "Hopefully a pilot, new TV show, or movie — any offers that come in are good offers."

It took a lot to nab the commercial — which Refaeli and Heiman had to shoot 65 times — that aired in front of 108 million people.

"They had me audition with a bunch of people, and in the first audition they had us kissing a blow up doll," Heiman told BI. "And the doll had a name: Lindsay Lohan." (Luckily it was sanitized in between each auditioner.)

But hopefully those days of hard auditions are over.

Heiman's agent's phone is "ringing off the hook," he told HuffPost.

If Heiman makes it big, he'll be among other celebrities who launched their careers after appearing in Super Bowl ads.

1. Ali Landry did a series of complex gymnastic moves in a 1998 Doritos Super Bowl ad.

Model and actress Ali Landry owes her career to her very first ad, which just happened to be Doritos' 1998 Super Bowl commercial.

"Doritos changed my life," Landry told Yahoo. "I bought my first house with Doritos."

More than a decade later, the former Miss USA is still known as the "Doritos Girl." After you watch the crazy gymnastic moves Landry did to get that Doritos ad, you'll see why:



Sean Hayes also starred in the same Doritos' 1998 Super Bowl spot.

Before he was on "Will & Grace," Sean Hayes stared at Ali Landry in awe during that same Doritos' ad that launched her career.

2. Betty White played a pickup football in Snicker's 2010 Super Bowl ad.

Although Betty White seems to be just about everywhere these days — from "SNL" appearances to movies to her own reality shows — the former "Golden Girl" saw a lag in her career when we entered the new Millennium.

What caused her career to get back on track? A 2010 Snickers Super Bowl commercial in which White played a crucial role in a pickup football game.

"That's what really started the little surge," White told Ad Age.

Watch the ad below:



3. Farrah Fawcett admires Joe Namath's close shave in Noxzema's 1973 Super Bowl ad.

Farrah Fawcett starred in a Super Bowl ad for Noxzema with quarterback Joe Namath in 1973.

Not too long after, the then-unknown model's career exploded. She eventually nabbed her iconic role in "Charlie's Angels," changing the history of women's hair forever.

Watch the spot below:



4. Cedric the Entertainer did a dance with a bottle of Bud Light in the beer maker's 2001 Super Bowl ad.

Although Cedric the Entertainer (Cedric Kyle) already had a loyal fanbase from his appearances on "The Steve Harvey Show" and "The Original Kings of Comedy," a 2001 Bud Light ad catapulted him into becoming the celebrity he is today.

"The Bud Light campaign could well elevate Cedric into major league status," a 2001 Los Angeles Times article predicted. And it did.

Watch the spot, in which a beer ruins the comedian's date night:



5. Danica Patrick has starred in Go Daddy's scandalous Super Bowl ads since 2006.


While Patrick was certainly already well-known in the NASCAR circuit, her partnership with Go Daddy in 2006 made the race car driver a household name.

Even though Go Daddy spread rumors that it might cut the iconic "Go Daddy Girl" from its new, supposedly more conservative, ad campaigns, Patrick still starred in the company's 2013 Super Bowl ad with supermodel Bar Refaeli.

Watch Patrick in a Go Daddy commercial that FOX refused to air in the 2008 Super Bowl:



6. Don Jeanes played a Clydesdale foal's loving trainer in Budweiser's 2013 Super Bowl ad.

If you recognized the trainer that the Clydesdale ran towards in Budweiser's heartwarming 2013 Super Bowl spot, titled "Brotherhood," that's because he played Neil Armstrong in the latest "Transformers" movie.

Considering that the spot stole the show and won the number one spot in USA Today's Ad Meter poll, we're suspecting that you're going to see a lot more of Don Jeanes soon.

Watch the ad below:


7. Jesse Heiman got to make out with Bar Refaeli in Go Daddy's 2013 Super Bowl ad.

And finally, the ultimate Super Bowl commercial unknown who we're sure is about to make it big: Jesse Heiman.

Although Heiman has been an extra in more than 200 television shows and movies, often playing the stock nerd character, his starring role as tech geek who makes out with Bar Refaeli in Go Daddy's 2013 Super Bowl commercial is his biggest spot yet.

Watch the ad below:

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