Many Chevrolet commercials I have seen in the past few years have started off with the disclaimer: "Real People. Not Actors". They have several of these commercials such as this one and that one.

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However, almost every time it's what seems like green screen action or faked reactions that leads me to believe that these so called "real people, not actors" are actually "real people who are also actors".

In any case, is there any proof that Chevrolet commercials really feature real people, not actors?

  • 5
    what is your definition of an actor? If it is someone who gets pay to be in a video/photo, then I highly doubt that Chevrolet does not pay them. Nov 28, 2016 at 3:43
  • 4
    actors are people too. Yes, they really are... And advertising agencies often hire people off the street for a specific campaign, getting reimbursed on commission for hours worked. They're technically not actors because they aren't trained as such, but they do act...
    – jwenting
    Nov 28, 2016 at 7:33
  • As the skill of an actor is to fake things so they look real then I would think that you would only see faked reactions if they are not a good actor
    – mmmmmm
    Nov 28, 2016 at 11:34
  • They take non-actors and ask them to act, which explains their stiff, wooden, unnatural behavior? Nov 28, 2016 at 17:46
  • 1
    Seems like the majority of the "wow!" responses are for things like walls moving, giant circles lifting from the floor with cars on them etc. That doesn't require great acting skill. Nov 29, 2016 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


Summary: Chevrolet explain that they took some effort to avoid actors, but further investigation found that some had appeared in the adverts.

The "Real People, Not Actors" is a ad campaign which is described as a focus-group type of ads undertaken by Chevrolet to capture honest reactions of real people which are uniformly positive about the Chevy vehicles. Plenty of unwanted footage has also been edited out.

A new marketing campaign beginning April 1 called, “Real People, Not Actors,” seeks to answer that question – and to capture people’s reactions on video. The campaign gathered nearly 400 non-Chevrolet owners in Los Angeles. Participants were introduced to the lineup of Chevrolet cars and crossovers through a series of focus groups; their reactions were incorporated into a series of television commercials and videos on Chevrolet’s YouTube channel. The new work advances the brand’s “Find New Roads” platform by featuring safety features and innovations available in the brand’s lineup. “The goal is to capture the spontaneous reactions of people as they’re exposed to today’s Chevrolet,” said Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet marketing. “People are immediately surprised and enthused when they experience our vehicles up close – the designs, technologies, and quality levels far exceed expectations.” Source: ‘REAL PEOPLE, NOT ACTORS,’ SEE THE REAL CHEVROLET.

Steve Majoros, Chevrolet’s director of marketing has informed Spencer Kornhaber of the Atlantic in 2016 that people belonging to the target demographic of the ad who are “emotive” and “expressive” are selected to act in the ad and also chances were likely that there will be a few aspiring actors in the sample of people selected to act in those ads.

Majoros insists that the “real people” really are real (save the moderator, actor Potsch Boyd). While the company obviously edits footage to “tell the best story,” the participants don’t know what brand they’re interacting with when they show up, and the reactions on screen are genuine. Chevy’s recruiters do try and find folks who are “emotive” and “expressive,” as well as within the target demographic of the ad. “When you have stimuli that is inextricably linked to the product message, it elicits feedback that we don’t need to script or stage,” Majoros said. Source: The Reality of Those 'Real People, Not Actors' Ads.

A screening process is also being reported by GM during recruitment of actors in the “Real People, Not Actors” ad campaign.

Because we are calling this campaign, “Real People, Not Actors,” we were very diligent in our recruiting process and asked participants if they were actors at two separate points. Once when they were initially recruited and again when they arrived for the focus group. The participants were recruited in the L.A. area, which increased the chance that participants had acting experience. We had each participant or their guardian sign a document that they were not currently a member of the Screen Actors Guild. To recruit participants, we followed the same process that lots of marketing firms use to recruit for focus groups. Their responses were never scripted and they were never told that Chevrolet was the client. They were not told that their focus group would be used in a commercial until after the final cut was made. Source: The Reality of Those 'Real People, Not Actors' Ads.

The ads also demonstrated positive effects from the ad campaign.

Majoros pointed out that Chevy’s audiences’ testing has demonstrated measurable, positive effects from the ads. It’s fitting: Commercials about market research are going to also be the product of market research. “On the bell curve you have your haters and your lovers,” Majoros said. “It’s like gymnastic scoring. Throw out the high, throw out the low, and see how the masses are reacting.” Source: The Reality of Those 'Real People, Not Actors' Ads.

However, five confirmed actors have appeared in Chevrolet’s 'Real People, Not Actors' according to the 2015 investigation by Patrick Grieve which shows that even actors have been part of the 'Real People, Not Actors' ad campaign.

But if the entire point of your marketing campaign is that the people featured in it are “Not Actors,” shouldn’t you go to some effort to ensure that the random focus group members you recruit are, in fact, not actors? If the NCAA was this lax about its “Real Students, Not Professionals” rule, we might see Kobe and LeBron suiting up for UK next season. At least five confirmed actors have appeared in Chevrolet’s “Real People, Not Actors” commercials. Perhaps they were all sincere mistakes. Perhaps Chevy knew more than it let on. Are Chevrolet’s “Real People, Not Actors” Car Commercials Fake?

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