Super Bowl Sunday is almost here! Which means it’s time for the big game, the big parties and the big commercials. Every year, corporations shell out millions of dollars to make a huge splash, but one could argue that nothing can match the fervor surrounding Super Bowl commercials 15 years ago. It was the era of Ali Landry’s hot Doritos girl, the “Make 7 Up Yours” ad guy, and Budweiser’s “Whassup?” ad campaigns. Some of those commercial pitch men, like Landry’s Doritos co-star Sean Hayes and 7 Up’s Orlando Jones, went on to bigger and better things, where as others faded into obscurity. So where are the Super Bowl commercial stars of the past now? And will this Sunday’s Super Bowl commercials spawn any stars of tomorrow?
Sean Hayes (Doritos and Budweiser 1998)
Sean Hayes is known best known for his work as Jack on Will & Grace, but before that, he was the commercial king. Specifically, he appeared in two classic Super Bowl commercials in 1998. One (see below) featured Hayes as a bored husband on a shopping excursion and in the other, he was a hapless man trying to woo Ali Landry with Doritos. By the fall of 1998, Hayes was working on Will & Grace. The series lasted until 2006 and since then, Hayes has appeared in a variety of film and television roles, including the recent NBC sitcom, Sean Saves The World.
Ali Landry (Doritos 1998-2000)
Before she was the smoking hot “Doritos Girl,” Ali Landry’s big claim to fame was that she was the first woman to win both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA. Her 1998 Doritos ad made her nationally famous for being, well, hot. Landry appeared in two subsequent Doritos Super Bowl ads and played Rita Lafleur on the sitcom, Eve. She was once married to Mario Lopez, but annulled the marriage after it was revealed that Lopez had cheated on her. Landry is now married to director Alejandro Monteverde. The couple have three children and their youngest son was blessed by Pope Francis.
Orlando Jones (7 UP 1999-2002)
Orlando Jones was one of the original cast member of MADtv, but he entered a unique form of celebrity when he appeared as 7 UP’s “Make 7 UP Yours” pitch man in 1999. He remained a 7 UP spokesperson until 2002. Since then, Jones has appeared in films such as The Time Machine and Magnolia and in 2003 he hosted his own talk show. Recently, Jones has enjoyed a career resurgence due to his work on the hit FOX show, Sleepy Hollow.
Charles Stone III (Budweiser “Whassup?” 1999-2002)
Charles Stone III is an American film and music video director. In 1999, he pitched Budweiser with an idea based on a joke in a short film called “True” that starred himself and his friends. The joke was “Whassup?” The initial ad, which featured Stone, aired on Monday Night Football in the fall of 1999, but it reached critical mass when it became part of Budweiser’s 2000 Super Bowl ad campaign. Stone went on to direct films such as Drumline (which co-stars Orlando Jones) and VH1’s recent CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story.
Ben Curtis (Dell 2000-2003)
So, technically, Dell started airing their “Dude, You’re Getting A Dell” ads during the 2000 holiday season, but come on. Ben Curtis was Dell’s collegiate-age spokesperson from 2000 to 2003 and appeared in, yes, Super Bowl ads. His contract with Dell was suspended in 2003 when he was caught with marijuana. After that, Curtis appeared in a variety of plays and indie films. Now, he is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the band SAMVARA.
The Super Bowl airs on CBS tomorrow, Sunday February 2.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images & 7 Up]