Do you know who Bill Glass is? If the name doesn’t ring a bell, his face certainly will. He’s the seemingly ubiquitous actor that shows up in commercial after commercial for many top marketers. Let me first say that I have nothing at all against Bill Glass. In fact, I think he is tremendous in every ad he’s been cast in. But, like they say in that ESPN Monday Night Countdown segment, C’MON MAN!
As we approach the biggest single-day for advertising–The Super Bowl—I figured it was a good time to get this off my chest. I know in advertising we are expected to suspend reality a bit. We’re intelligent people; we know the actors in ads aren’t really Coke brand managers, UPS Store clerks, suburban parents, or online insurance salesmen. But when the familiarity with an actor becomes so great that we think of the actor and not the ad message, hasn’t the ad already lost a bit of its impact? Bill Glass even knows he’s used excessively in advertising. His website is www.THATGUYBILLGLASS.com.
While ad agencies and the directors they hire to cast/produce a TV commercial are the primary culprits, the clients they’re working for share in the blame. If a client is looking for something that really stands out and that they can own, having their ad cast with actors that are currently appearing in multiple other spots isn’t the way to get it done.
There’s no reason to be so lazy. There are way more talented actors available then there are roles for them to fill. Let’s spread things around a little folks. And clients, be sure to stay active in the process. Bill Glass may be the greatest commercial actor in history. His work in the Coke Zero spots was exceptional and he’s fantastic in the Esurance ads. The work by a number of other actors that are appearing in multiple spots is quite good, as well. But, should an ad have to rely on a certain actor to deliver the message well, especially if that actor is playing other roles across different forms of media? We certainly don’t think so.
Dig a little deeper directors and casting agents. Give your clients something fresh. After all, Bill Glass may be “That Guy,” but he certainly can’t be the only guy that can deliver lines quickly and efficiently on a commercial set.