Think you’re hearing more top-tier celebs in TV ads lately? They’re not just voices in your head. More and more big stars are pitching products without giving face time. They often earn high six figures for a day’s work and avoid the stigma of on-camera endorsements. And ad makers get A-list appeal without the sky-high A-list price tag. Look who’s talking. — Cary Hughes
— You haven’t seen Demi Moore much lately, but you’ll hear the Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle actress in Chevrolet spots. Bill Ludwig of ad agency Campbell-Ewald praises Moore’s pipes as ”authoritative yet feminine.”
— After his well-received on-camera work for Apple’s iMac, Jeff Goldblum earned close to $1 million to tout Toyota, insiders estimate. A Saatchi & Saatchi exec says the Tall Guy has ”tremendous range.”
— Formerly wild and crazy Steve Martin, who talks up Merrill Lynch, has a ”sophisticated and urbane” reputation, says the bank’s Robert Horton.
— For years, Oscar winner Gene Hackman has put his mouth where the money is — in spots for United Airlines and others. Now he conveys ”wisdom and experience” for Oppenheimer Funds, says a firm spokesman.
— Diet Coke’s 2001 campaign was so racy that many missed the movie stars’ voice-overs. Ben Affleck described the sexiness of cotton panties, while Renee Zellweger ruminated on a guy singing in the shower. Ashley Judd and Matthew McConaughey joined the heard in commercials about a handsome young father and the glory of pregnancy, respectively.
— Emmy winner Lisa Kudrow gushes about Pepsi’s Aquafina bottled water. The Friends ditz has a ”broad appeal and fun-loving personality,” explains Aquafina rep Bart Casabona. Insiders speculate that Kudrow, as a TV star, earned about $500,000, the low end of the scale. But she’ll probably never be thirsty.
”My off-white poodle. She doesn’t consider herself to be gay, but I have my hunch.” — Will & Grace’s MEGAN MULLALLY, on the gayest thing in her home