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Put a Face on the Company

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When a company presents something for its target customers to associate with their product. The something can range from a catchphrase to a charity campaign to a literal face in the form of a celebrity (real or fictional), the company's Mascot, a normal person (maybe an Insane Proprietor, or someone raising from the dead to advertise, or a member of the company's staff), or an expert in a product-related field (which would be a testimonial).

One of the Basic Commercial Types. Often part of Advertising Campaigns. Might overlap with Adam Westing (a creator who parodies themselves and/or something involving them) and The Dead Rise to Advertise.

Super-Trope of Celebrity Endorsement (using celebrities to promote products), Character Celebrity Endorsement (using fictional characters to promote Real Life products), and Insane Proprietor (sellers claiming to be mentally insane as an explanation for their low prices). Contrast with Straightforward ads (an ad that says what the product does; no more, no less). Compare with Sex Sells (using fanservice to sell your product, regardless if it fits).


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  • Halifax bank has its staff appear in its ads, the most famous of which is Howard, now heavily associated with the company. Uniquely, he wasn't CEO or owner, but just a normal office worker. Some of the common activities the staff engages in the commercials is feigning being radio DJs, with two rather dumpy girls in sensible cardigans singing along to Vanilla Ice. Apparently, that advertises a safe and reliable financial product called an ISA.

Beauty & Personal Hygiene

  • The Hair Club for Men:
    "I'm not only the president, I'm also a client!"
  • Remington shavers, and owner Victor Kiam: "I liked it so much, I bought the company!"
    • The Spatula City owner: "I liked their spatulas so much, I bought the company!"


  • Batman OnStar Commercials: For this campaign, OnStar products are brought forth as desirable and cool because it's freaking Batman using them.
  • The series of "Ask Dr. Z" commercials used by the Chrysler Group in the US and Canada, featuring DaimlerChrysler chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche. The campaign backfired, as many viewers assumed this guy with a silly mustache and incomprehensible German accent was a fictional character.
    • In the 1980s, Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca appeared in many of their ads. He returned to Chrysler commercials for a few months in 2005 despite having left the company over a decade before.
    • On a related note, basically any television commercial for a car dealership will feature one of their salesmen — the best-looking one of course. Dealerships being local businesses, however, these ads are likely not that great.
  • Joe Isuzu was a fictional spokesman for Isuzu automobiles. Played by David Leisure, this character was a pathological liar who made outrageous and overinflated claims about Isuzu's cars. It has more seats than the Astrodome!
  • Bill Ford, Jr., great-grandson of Henry Ford and at the time CEO of the Ford Motor Company, made a point of appearing in a series of Ford ads during his tenure, playing on his "cool, Nice Guy exec" persona (for a scion of one of America's great industrial families, he seems to be a very casual guy and what with the veganism and folk guitar is a bit of a hippie for one too). The company kept declining, Bill's face on it notwithstanding, and he bowed out of both the ads and being CEO to look after his family's other interests (including trying to get his father to run the Detroit Lions competently).


  • George Zimmer, CEO of Men's Wearhouse, appears in all of its ads, ending each by saying "You're going to like the way you look; I guarantee it." This phrase has spawned its own Memetic Mutation, and turned Zimmer himself into somewhat of a Memetic Badass.


  • Video Professor ads all feature CEO John Scherer plaintively imploring the audience to, "Please? Try my product."

Food & Drink

  • Bartles & Jaymes Wine Coolers had commercials featuring Frank Bartles and Ed Jaymes, a couple of elderly country bumpkins sitting in a porch. Apparently, Ed was the brains of the outfit, even if he never talked.
  • In the 1950s and '60s, Piel Bros. beer had a series of animated spots featuring the fictional Bert and Harry Piel, voiced by comedians Bob & Ray.
  • Orville Redenbacher did this for his popcorn for years until his death, and then as an obvious zombie for years after his death.
  • The idea the Jay Bush and Duke campaign for Bush's Baked Beans as originally conceived was to put a recognizable face on the company by hiring a descendant of the original founder as a spokesperson for the company. Putting a dog in the ads came afterward, but the basic idea succeeded in making both Jay Bush and Duke recognizable as the "face," such that some later ads even used them without the central gimmick of Duke trying to sell off the secret family recipe.


  • Will It Blend?: Tom Dickson, the Blendtec founder and CEO, appears on a series of Youtube videos attempting to blend all sorts of objects with the advertised product: the Total Blender.


  • Jake from State Farm: Not the intention of the original ad was just intended as a one-off gag about a guy suspected of cheating for speaking with his insurance agent at 3 A.M. and Jake himself wasn't really supposed to the most memorable aspect of the ad. However, this is the entire idea of the relaunch, with the new Jake as a spokesperson for the company and launching him with a new version of an ad that was already familiar in people's minds to cement this.

Legal Practices

  • It was never specifically stated, but there was a British advert for a firm of ambulance-chasers featuring a spokesman of such sheer ugliness and wooden presenting ability that he must have been the boss, wandering around a call-centre of such depressing cheapness that it must have been their actual offices...
    • Such cheap advertising only ever appears on daytime British TV, where it is universally assumed the watching public will not be of the exalted and sought-after prime-time demographic with lots of lovely disposable income. In fact, they're anything but. Daytime TV watchers are thought of as an amalgam of students, the unemployed, housewives, the elderly, etc, those without any of the assets that make them so valuable to TV advertisers. It is also believed that such people are not financially savvy, hence all the adverts for ambulance-chasers, PPI refund cowboys, loan-sharks, pawnshops, etc, that you never see during the breaks at peak time.
  • Michiganders (and others, but mostly Michiganders) are familiar with the awful 1-800-CALL-SAM commercials for The Law Offices of Sam Bernstein, another firm of ambulance chasers, prominently featuring the founder and more recently his children (who are apparently all lawyers working at his firm).


  • Buckley's cough syrup in North America ("It tastes awful. And it works.") was for a long time advertised by founder William K. Buckley, and later his son, Frank Buckley.


  • Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's Restaurants, appeared in over 800 commercials for the chain, including every single one that aired in the 1990s.
    • His daughter Wendy (yes, the restaurant is named after her) is doing the same thing, but Dave did it better. The ads featuring Wendy Morse (she goes by her married name) tend to be wholesome ads emphasizing the freshness of the ingredients or the company's commitment to Dave Thomas' adoption charity; these are helped by the fact that Wendy Morse, despite being a multi-millionaire businesswoman (she owns over 30 Wendy's franchises and sits—at least sometimes—on the main company's board), looks exactly like the stereotypical Midwestern suburban mom. (At the same time, the company ran ads featuring a sexy twentysomething redhead who looks like what a lot of people probably imagine the "Wendy" in the logo would look like—these generally feature particular meals.)
      • The "Wendy" in the logo actually is Wendy Morse, as a little girl, but the girl in the logo went through several passes of stylization to result in the modern Wendy's logo, while the actual girl the logo was based on just aged out of the look.
  • The Ur-Example: Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harlan Sanders. He went so far as to put his own face on the logo—and now his face is famous the world over. Not bad for a farmer's son from Southern Indiana.note 
  • Jack in the Box's ads feature Jack, the corporation's fictional clown-headed CEO.


  • Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has been appearing in its most recent commercials, talking about how "cool" his company's various phone plans are and looking like a huge dork in the process.
  • The Crazy Eddy electronic chain (the original Insane Proprietor) had WPIX-FM late-night disc jockey Jerry "Dr. Jerry" Carroll as a spokesperson, doing a series of commercials in his manic style, ending each spot with the line "Their Prices Are Insaaane!". People actually thought this actor was in fact 'Crazy Eddie'. When in fact "Crazy" Eddie Antar had fled to Israel, after embezzling half the profits from his stores.
  • Detroit-area electronics chain ABC Warehouse features company founder and CEO Gordon "Gordy" Hartunian playing a comically goofy version of himself in its humorous TV and radio spots.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Community: Rick literally becomes this thanks to the process of Corpohumanization. They pay him to legally change his name to "Subway" (the company's name) to use him for advertising.
  • The Peter Serafinowicz Show: Brian Butterfield is a subversion; being a parody of the PI Helpline man, you'd think this was played straight, but everything he advertises is so incompetent it's clear that he really is the only one running each operation.

  • Cream: In the band's heyday, music papers looking for quotes from the members of Cream usually went straight to Clapton, because most journalists were terrified of Baker, and Bruce tended to be either quiet or rather disparaging of the technical abilities of other bands.

    Western Animation