5 great celebrity cameos in videos for brands

Once in a while we'll see a video or commercial spot and do a double take. Was that who we thought it was? Celebrities often work closely with advertisers, lending their image to campaigns in order to help move product. Some of their efforts are more memorable than others, and increasingly, some of the best roles are popping up on the Web in YouTube videos and short films. Those that follow aren't technically all cameos - in some cases the celeb is clearly the star - but they all feature actors in an unexpected role that isn't easy to forget.

1. Fabio and Old Spice

In 2011, the already renowned Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign featuring Isaiah Mustafa got a surprise twist: Fabio arrived on YouTube to challenge him to a duel. While Fabio's presence was short-lived (Mustafa emerged as the Old Spice Man victor), he brought fresh humor to a long-running campaign and further solidified his pop culture status.

2. Topher Grace and Intel/Toshiba's "The Beauty Inside"

Last year's 6-episode Web series titled "The Beauty Inside" starred countless actors, including fans - and with good reason: the story followed a man who woke up every morning in a different body. Sounds strange, but the resulting Intel and Toshiba-sponsored videos were utterly stupendous. "That '70s Show"'s Topher Grace narrates and makes an appearance toward the end, but be sure to watch the series in its entirety for the full effect.

3. Harvey Keitel and Intel/Toshiba's "The Power Inside"

This year Intel and Toshiba launched a new Web series called The Power Inside, and it features a Hollywood heavyweight yet again. This story's stranger still (in short, earth's greatest threat comes from aliens disguised as facial hair), but once again clever writing, quality production value, and stellar acting by Keitel and others make the social film work.

4. Kristen Bell in Target's "Falling for You" shoppable movie

She has no shortage of major film credits to her name, but last year Kristen Bell partnered with Target to shoot a collection of short online films called Falling for You. What made this campaign so interesting is that Bell's character works for Target, and the films themselves are "shoppable," packed with Target products that viewers can click to buy as they watch.


5. Willem Dafoe in Jameson's "Love's Routine"

Created by NYU film student Shirlyn Wong as part of a script-writing contest sponsored by Jameson Whiskey, "Love's Routine" stars Willem Dafoe as one of the more surprising characters you'll see him play. Dafoe agreed to star in the short film as part of the campaign's prize: each winner got a top Hollywood actor. Last year Kevin Spacey, who conceptualized the contest, did the honors for the winning films himself.


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