Some of today's finest actors are so familiar because of their iconic performances that's it's almost impossible to imagine them in any other roles. It might be weird to realize that all of our favorites were once anonymous, trying to get paid before making it into Hollywood. These hilarious commercials featuring some of America's A-listers are guaranteed to shock you.
Zendaya for ICarly Toys, 2009
Superstar Zendaya is relatively young and still at the beginning of her career, so it's shocking to see her in a commercial from 2009 - for iCarly toys, no less! As an original Disney girl, it's interesting seeing her as a kid, promoting Nickelodeon of all channels.
She is seen next to another child star using the many extraordinary toys that can be seen on the hit kids' show iCarly, and it didn't take long for Zendaya to become one of the most prominent and famous actresses of the last few years.
Mila Kunis for Lisa Frank, 1993
We all know and love Mila Kunis from her days on That '70s Show, but did you know she did an insanely colorful Lisa Frank commercial a few years before gaining national success? She was only ten years old but she sure knew how to sell it well.
The actress promoted the whimsical school supplies brand in a very '90s commercial. The hair, the clothes, the way she says she "got stuck on Lisa Frank" right before describing the sticker collection is truly adorable.
Britney Spears for Maull’s, 1993
Fan-favorite pop princess Britney Spears has been through a LOT these past years. She's been in the spotlight ever since she was a teenager, becoming ultra famous with her hit Baby One More Time, but she was also on the Mickey Mouse Club where she started her musical career.
Spears shot this funny commercial for Maull's Barbecue sauce at only 11 years old. She can be seen for just a few seconds chowing down a delicious burger, but she's still the center of attention - as she should be.
Kirsten Dunst for Baby Dolly Surprise, 1989
It seems like Kirsten Dunst's parents always wanted her to be in the spotlight because she was only seven years old when she did this commercial. Cuddling with her Baby Dolly Surprise, a magical doll that could grow her hair in the matter of seconds, young Dunst is as adorable (and blurry) as ever.
With a perm in her hair and her doll growing its enchanted hair right before her eyes, this commercial is nothing short of fantastic and utterly creepy.
Jennifer Lawrence for My Super Sweet 16, 2005
Jennifer Lawrence had a long road ahead of her before she was cast in films like Winter's Bone and the Hunger Games series. Her funny expressions can be seen long before she was famous in this hilarious ad for the popular MTV show My Super Sweet 16.
The promos show young Lawrence as a supposed participator in the show, being all obnoxious and getting what she deserved. Only 14 years old then, the Oscar-winning actress was perfectly cast as an annoying teenager and definitely stole the show.
Meghan Markle for Tostitos, 2009
We all know Meghan Markle had en entire life before becoming a royal-- it was quite a famous life to lead. The young actress actually appeared in many movies but her most prominent role was in the TV show Suits, which was also her last role before marrying Prince Harry.
The actress did all kinds of embarrassing things in her past, but this Tostitos commercial has to be right at the top of that list. Not even using her own voice, the royal is seen carefully choosing a chip bag before deciding on - you guessed it - Tostitos.
Sarah Michelle Gellar for Burger King, 1981
We were absolutely floored when we realized the adorable kid from this 1981 Burger Kind commercial was none other than actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. It wasn't until she smiled that we realized it's her!
The ad features a five-year-old Gellar blatantly being a savage about McDonald's, saying they have 20% less meat in their burgers than Burger King. It was actually quite serious at the time and started a legal battle between the two fast food companies. Since she was the face of B.K., she said she actually missed out on many friends' birthday parties at McDonald's over this feud.
Heath Ledger for Chicken Treat, 1996
Australian late actor Heath Ledger wasn't always the legendary performer we've grown to love and admire. He's had massive success in America, beginning his Hollywood career with his appearance as Patrick in 10 Things I Hate About You, but he had to start out somewhere.
Appearing in this Aussie commercial for Chicken Treat wasn't exactly the thing that boosted his career into stardom, but it's cute alright. He played an employee who still has a lot to learn from his boss and while it's just a corny commercial - he definitely stole the show.
Keanu Reeves for Coca-Cola, 1983
While Coca-Cola is a delicious beverage, it's definitely not something people drink after cycling in a race. Beloved actor Keanu Reeves delivers a less-than stellar performance in this ad from 1983, saying only seven words in a less-than phenomenal way, but it's sure enough for us.
His dad encourages him to do well in the race, and he delivers - then chugs a coke right after. It's super cheesy and kinda makes you wonder how on earth he managed to land such an extensive acting career after this debacle.
Bryan Cranston for Preparation H, 1980s
Bryan Cranston is one of the world's most well-known actors thanks to his iconic performance as Walter White in Breaking Bad. He's had minor success which other roles too, but this is definitely his biggest role to date. Not sure we would've ever noticed it's the same guy from a Preparation H commercial for a hemorrhoid cream.
Yup, THE Heisenberg once was a spokesperson for a pharmaceutical company. We're so glad he got his big break eventually - he completely deserves it!
Jack Black for Pitfall TV, 1982
They all had to start somewhere, and while it's kind of impossible for fans to think of comedian Jack Black as a kid - the proof is right here in front of us. Black appeared in this commercial for the Atari game Pitfall, giving us a glimpse into the actor's charm from back in the day.
For an ad from 1982, it's quite compelling. Each participator shares just how amazing this video game is, including enthusiastic young Black, and we're just glad video games have evolved since then.
Leonardo DiCaprio for Bubble Yum, 1988
Before gaining the status of one of the world's most famous actors, Leonardo DiCaprio took on almost any role he could possibly get. That includes the cute Bubble Yum commercial he did when he just 14 years old, telling the audience that this delicious gum "keeps it poppin'".
Yup, he actually had to say that. Although it's kinda cringey, we love seeing young DiCaprio before he became famous. You can definitely see the hunger in his eyes!
Channing Tatum for Pepsi, 2000
Just a few years before Channing Tatum's big break in 2006's Step Up, the actor appeared in one of Pepsi's ads which were more like music videos. Unfortunately, he did not showcase his fantastic dancing skills but instead played a DJ.
Apparently, as part of the actor's journey into acting, he did some questionable things to get into these short commercials. He supposedly faked his way through a DJ audition and that's how he got the Pepsi ad role. We're so thankful his acting career soared after this!
George Clooney for Toyota, 2001
That thing about actors doing car commercials in Japan to make a quick buck without the scrutiny is apparently extremely true - just take a look at this disturbing shot from a Toyota commercial George Clooney did back in 2001. He started acting back in 1978 but only made it big during the '90s in his ER role.
This worrisome commercial features the famous actor staring in an upsetting way at a woman, then standing by a car, and even winking at the camera. We can see why he didn't want anyone to watch it.
Steve Carell for Brown’s Chicken, 1989
Comedian Steve Carell made it big only later on in life, but that doesn't mean he wasn't pursuing his dream of becoming a famous actor way before that. In this funny commercial for Brown's Chicken you can already notice his unique sense of humor, those expressive looks to the camera, and that spot-on deliverance.
During the commercial he talks about the company's cholesterol-free chicken and even though it was years before he was actually well-known as the star he is, he manages to steal the show.
Brad Pitt for Pringles, 1988
Dubbed "The Fever Reliever", this Pringles commercial from 1988 is truly wild. Actor Brad Pitt being in it isn't even the weirdest thing about it. It shows a group of young adults whose car broke down while finishing their Pringles simultaneously. A true tragedy.
The then-young star was just starting out in Hollywood with minor roles in unfamiliar productions, only later on breaking into the big boys' scene in roles like J.D. in Thelma and Louise. This commercial surely helped make a quick buck but was it worth chowing down Pringles? Well, probably.
Selena Gomez for Joe’s Crab Shack, 2004
Actress and musician Selena Gomez has definitely made a name for herself ever since she was a little girl. From being one of Barney's friends to a Disney princess with her own TV show, to a serious actress alongside Martin Short and Steve Martin in Only Murders in the Building - she's done it all.
She also starred briefly in a commercial for Joe's Crab Shack from 2004. Her appearance munching on some fried shrimp is truly short but sweet.
Martin Freeman for Super Noodles, 1998
It took some time for English actor Martin Freeman to become a big star in Hollywood. He's done some unforgettable roles with The Hobbit being the most famous, but he had to work hard to become so well-known. This Super Noodles commercial is exactly what we're talking about.
In the ad, Freeman is a father trying to entertain his son while eating noodles as his partner chatters away in another room. He then blames his son for ruining his partner's white short, although he was the one who used it as a napkin a few moments earlier.
Tobey Maguire for Tropicana Twister, 1991
Actor Tobey Maguire had his big breakthrough only as Peter Parker (or Spider-Man, if you will) so it makes sense that he's tried to get into acting in all kinds of interesting ways. It began with minor roles in film and TV, but this Tropicana ad is something else.
The funny commercial is all about the company's Twister Juice line which supposedly has strange flavors. Maguire, with his timeless sassy attitude and zest, teases with the line "Why don't you put some broccoli in there?" and it's just as kitsch as you'd expect it to be.
Paul Rudd for Super Nintendo, 1991
Just before making a big debut in the popular cult film Clueless as the annoying yet charming Josh, Paul Rudd was finding his way in Hollywood. He appeared in some unknown TV movies before becoming famous, and he also made quite the appearance in this gaming commercial for the Super Nintendo Console.
It was the early '90s and everything looked different, but not Paul Rudd who many suspect is an actual vampire, due to his seeming inability to age.
Ben Affleck for Burger King, 1989
Ben Affleck has done many interesting roles in his career, including writing and directing in a few of them. This portrayal of a young boy doing free deliveries for Burger King, however, is not something we've seen him do before.
As many others, Affleck tried his luck with commercials and teen dramas before becoming a serious actor. In this one for the famous fast food chain, he delivers some random woman's salad but just as he gets there - his father calls for him to come home. Not the ending he was hoping for, probably.
Bruce Willis for Seagrams Wine Coolers, 1987
While he was still just a struggling actor, Bruce Willis did a highly unexpected thing and starred in a Seagrams ad - while singing! We know Willis as this action superstar and have seen him in multiple groundbreaking performances, but not singing to and about beverages in a weird, musical commercial.
It's actually quite a good one, we have to say. Willis is young and sings pretty well, giving his all to the camera. Even the dog at the end seems to approve.
Mark Ruffalo for Clearasil, 1989
Long before becoming the mighty Hulk in the MCU, lovable actor Mark Ruffalo appeared in a rather embarrassing ad for Clearasil. It shows him with some zits on his face, being ashamed about them of course, until he finds some Clearasil pads that save the day.
He can obviously feel like himself again after using the pads, and suddenly his skin is crystal clear. It was just the beginning for the young actor who appeared in some iconic movies over the last two decades.
Amy Adams for Commercial Federal Bank, 1997
In this bizarre musical ad we see actress Amy Adams like we've never seen her before - singing and dancing! As beautiful as ever, young Adams is chanting away about smart banking and while she's adorable-- the ad itself is one of the cringiest things you'll ever see.
Parodying Grease's Summer Nights and actually singing about how "summer banking" is fun truly deserves the most painful-to-watch commercial award. The acclaimed actress had to sit back and rewatch this embarrassing moment again while being a guest on Jimmy Fallon in 2013.
Meg Ryan for Burger King, 1982
We all know actress Meg Ryan as the female star of the '90s, since she has appeared in so many iconic films over that decade - from When Harry Met Sally... to You've Got Mail. She's the original face of romantic comedies, but along with some other famous faces, she started from very humble beginnings.
This commercial from 1982 shows Ryan as a Burger King employee, telling the audience about their possibility to win a million dollars while buying a simple item on the menu, and if she wasn't credited we would've never guessed it was her!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Pop-Tarts, 1991
Acclaimed actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn't always the charming dude he is today. In case you don't remember, he started out as a child actor with a role in 3rd Rock from the Sun and other ventures. He also did this bizarre pop-tart commercial and left us quite stunned.
In this role-switching ad, young Gordon-Levitt assumes the role of the father and tells his old man to not skip breakfast - the most important meal of the day. It's cute, we'll give him that!
Courteney Cox for Tampax, 1985
Before becoming a household name with roles such as Monica in Friends and Gale in the Scream series, actress Courteney Cox did whatever she could to start her acting career. Yes, that means doing tampon ads every once in a while.
In the commercial, Cox explains how Tampax's tampons actually change the way women feel about that time of the month, and it's full of female empowerment. She speaks eloquently and looks phenomenal. Yes, it's about periods, but she did a really good job.
Elijah Wood for National Dairy Board, 1992
Before his big break as Frodo Bagging in the Lord of the Rings series, actor Elijah Wood worked hard to become a serious actor. Throughout the '90s, he's had small roles in relatively unknown movies and TV series, and even starred in a few commercials when he was just a child.
In 1992 he was the star of a National Dairy Board ad, encouraging kids and adults to eat more dairy. His yummy melted cheddar cheese is taken away but then returned to his broccoli, making it seem like the most valuable thing on his plate.
Olivia Colman for The AA, 2004
English actress Olivia Colman wasn't always the Oscar-winning phenomenon she is known as nowadays. She slowly made her way into becoming a Hollywood legend, and this car loan commercial is a cute reminder of her early acting career days.
She is seen in two versions with her on-screen husband - in a worn down car, and in a new one. The company tried to funnily show what would happen if you switched to them and had a lower car loan rate-- you'd be able to afford more. Colman reportedly hates the ad, and we can definitely understand.
Tina Fey for Mutual Savings Bank, 1995
It's hard to think of Tina Fey as someone who's a little coy or relatively shy-- we've grown so accustomed to her confident performances. In this ad for Mutual Savings Bank you can see that she was just starting out in the business, not fully formed as a performer just yet.
Also, watching Fey and not laughing from her lines and delivery is something we're extremely not used to. The unfunny commercial shows her trying to convey the bank's message, but it's not really working out - for everyone involved, viewers included.
Matt LeBlanc for Heinz Ketchup, 1987
Actor Matt LeBlanc has always been very honest about his struggles before his big Friends glory. He mentioned previously that he was trying to become an actor and was basically broke, so it's no surprise to see him in such a commercial a few years before his big breakthrough.
Before the role that gave him his career, LeBlanc did all kinds of commercials. This one for Heinz shows him being always prepared to eat ketchup with his hot dog. Seems exactly like something Joey Tribbiani would actually do!
Matthew Perry for Pacific Bell, 1987
Many actors found themselves in really weird commercials right before their big breaks on TV or film, and actor Matthew Perry was no different. He did this commercial for Pacific Bell and we can almost see him as his iconic Friends character Chandler Bing doing the same thing.
He appears as a young man chatting to someone on the phone during the same time his dad is trying to call through after being in a car accident. If only he had Pacific Bell's call waiting service he wouldn't have to pray that his son becomes less chatty.
Jason Alexander for McDonald's, 1985
McDonald's ads were wild back in the day. Just a few years before his big break as George Constanza, actor Jason Alexander appeared in one of their bizarre commercials. Apparently the most charismatic person in the world, Alexander's character sweeps people off their feet by telling them about the fast food chain's newest yummy burger - all while singing and dancing for the ages.
The burger stays hot while the vegetables such as tomato and lettuce stay cold. That's pretty much it, but the ad makes it sound like the best thing ever.
Charlie Day for Cascade Complete, 2000
Comedian Charlie Day was rather unknown until he was cast in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which has gained critical acclaim and the status of a cult TV show. From that point he began his acting career especially in funny films such as Horrible Bosses, but he had to start somewhere.
The funnyman shot a 2000 commercial for a cleaning product, featuring him as a graduate telling his excited parents that he's going to skip working and retire straight away instead. The ad's goal was to say that some steps can be skipped, but others cannot. Cringe fest!
John Travolta for Mutual of New York, 1970s
In this somber commercial we can see young actor John Travolta as a man who lost his father and didn't get any life insurance, leading to a very miserable life working at a restaurant. The sob-inducing ad features the young star just before he was cast in movies such as Saturday Night Fever and the legendary Grease.
The commercial tells the story of Brian whose father unexpectedly passed away, and while we were surprised to see him in a tear-jerker role as opposed to his more comedic and action-filled appearances, he definitely nails the part.