Theater Professor to be Featured in Super Bowl Commercial

Friday, February 1, 2019
A married couple kissing in front of a storefront

For as many eyes as will be on the football game Sunday night, nearly as many will be tuning in for the commercial breaks.

Watch closely, and you might catch Matthew Schmidli, MFA, assistant professor of theater.

Schmidli has been a commercial actor for years — he said he’s been featured in spots for Sprint, Garmin, and a host of other companies. On Sunday, however, Schmidli will potentially be seen by millions across the U.S. in a commercial for Head and Shoulders filmed practically in his backyard on the historic square in Independence, Missouri.

“Most of the work I do is regional,” he said. “It pretty rare that these companies come through town, but every once in a while, something comes along that is bigger than that — it was definitely the right place, right time.”

National commercial shoots are more common in Los Angeles, California. Schmidli said he filmed another national TV spot for Ford when he was living there — a commercial that, appropriately enough, ran during Thanksgiving Day’s NFL games at the time. Head and Shoulders’ latest ad campaign seeks to highlight the “headstrong” businesses across the country forging a unique path, and one, KC Weddings 2 Go, caught their eye. The company offers on-the-spot matrimony services out of a van in the Kansas City area, and the commercial is set to highlight that unique model against the background of the unique Independence Square, according to the teaser trailer. Schmidli said he jumped at the chance to audition for a role in the commercial — alongside his wife.

A lifelong Chiefs fan, Schmidli said the spot was filmed the day of the AFC Championship game between the Chiefs and the Patriots and was excited about the idea of being featured in a national commercial, in his hometown, with the possibility of his team playing for the trophy. Unfortunately, he said the shoot lasted 12 hours, preventing him from going.

Given the outcome of that game and the fact that he missed it, Schmidli said the idea of watching the Super Bowl for the commercial is, on some level, probably a little bittersweet. But, on the other hand, he said being able to be a part of the effort to tout the city he calls home on TV’s biggest stage is a nice consolation prize.

“This really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “They’re actually changing this woman’s life, and in terms of how many people could see it, it doesn’t get much bigger.”