TV’s 30-second star: 'The Hopper' guy

You know how when some commercials are over, you’re not sure what product you were being pitched? That’s not the case with the new spot, an instant classic, for the Hopper, a souped-up DVR being packaged with Dish satellite service.

(Photo: Screen shot of the ad)

Talk about branding! About the only words in the ad are: “the Hopper!” repeated over and over. But it’s being chanted in such steep Boston accents that it sounds more like “the Hoppah”. And no one says it better, or more often, than Patrick Flaherty, the big guy at the end of the couch.

Watch his work. If this isn’t deserving of a short-form Emmy I don’t know what is.

The ad agency was shooting the commercial in Los Angeles but they weren’t happy at the early readings. So they opened up auditions in Boston to get a more authentic flavor. That worked wicked good.

“The two gentlemen in the living room with me are from Boston,” says Flaherty, a native of Milton, Mass. “The guy in the basement is from Maine. The woman in the kitchen graduated from Harvard and the girl upstairs is from Lincoln [a Boston suburb].”

Ironically, Flaherty who’s been trying to break into show biz forever, had worked hard on losing his accent in order to increase his chances of landing a role. “Obviously, I can drop back into it any time I want to,” he says.

The commercial is getting such prominent play, including during the NCCAA basketball finals this week between Kentucky and Kansas, that Flaherty may quit his day job selling cars and move back to Los Angeles where he spent just over a decade looking for acting work.

But his deathless delivery of that line – ‘the Hoppah!” – is already paying big dividends.

“It’s nice,” he says “having my nine nieces and nephews going crazy over it.”




Read more Dave on Demand or follow him on Twitter @DaveOnDemand_TV