Among the celebrity guests at the DirecTV party for the Television Critics Association meetings is a petite woman dressed in jeans. She’s very recognizable but never expected to get attention from the critics.
Laurel Coppock’s at the party as a guest of her husband, Bobby Mort, who is a producer of the show “John Loudermilk” on DirecTV.
When I approach her about doing an interview, Coppock is ready to step aside let her husband talk. She’s surprised that she’s the focus of my interest.
“I don’t get recognized a lot except for a few people like you,” Coppock says over the party music. “Most times people think I am some one they went to school with.”
Anyone who watches network television might not know the Boston natives name but they have seen her face countless times. She plays Jan, the super perky woman who has appeared in a large number of Toyota commercials.
Oh, that Laurel Coppock.
Besides appearing in the TV commercials, Coppock has appeared in “Hot in Cleveland,” “Arrested Development” and “Hart of Dixie.” But, it is the TV ads that have earned her the most notice.
Asked if being known for a series of commercials is good for her career, Coppock says, “I hope that is a good thing. I feel really lucky to have that job.”
Coppock signed on to be in the commercials for one year. She had hopes the campaign would continue because she loves the character so much. She got her wish as the commercials continue.
Television commercials are an exact length, usually 30 seconds. One thing Coppock likes is that she’s often allowed to improvise, a skill she has honed with the Los Angeles-based Groundlings.
Coppock approaches playing Jan the same way she would play a character on a TV show.
“She feels very well rounded and thought out. The have a long bio and back story for Jan,” Coppock says with a laugh. “When the crew comes together it feels like we are back shooting our show.
“It’s like Jan comes to life everything three months and then we go our own way.”
The continued work is making Coppock more recognizable to the public. Part of it is because she doesn’t dress differently than what she would put on in her real life.
The most attention Jan has gotten since starting the advertising campaign was when she appeared in commercials pregnant. Coppock was really with child when she shot those ads.
She’s not certain how being known for working in commercials impacts casting directors.
“There is a recognizability from being part of something like the commercials. There’s good will for that character,” Coppock says.