It's been 23 years since David Schwimmer starred in a TV commercial. Now, he's the star of four teasers for a spot we'll (supposedly) never see.
The actor, best known for his role as Ross Geller on "Friends," is starring in the commercial Skittles says it will show during Super Bowl LII to a single fan, teenager Marcos Menendez of Los Angeles.
Schwimmer says he embraced the chance to star in a Skittles ad.
"I would never promote a product I didn't actually enjoy myself," he says.
A quartet of 15-second teasers for the secretive DDB spot is being released Wednesday. Schwimmer plays four different characters, each with a quirkiness one would expect from the "Taste the Rainbow" candy brand. In each teaser Schwimmer wears a different wig; in another, he dons a mustache. All films share the ungrammatical tagline "Exclusive the rainbow. Taste the rainbow."
The final commercial is set to be shown only to Menendez, according to Skittles. As a 17-year-old, there's the chance he may not have seen too many episodes of "Friends" before its run ended in 2004, though reruns are easy to find. If Menendez isn't familiar with the show, "we'll have to show him the commercial along with the 10 seasons of 'Friends,'" Schwimmer jokes in a phone interview. Or, perhaps he'll want to look back at the AT&T True Savings spot starring Schwimmer from 1995.
Back to Schwimmer's current slate of work, a collaboration of his is getting new attention this week. A series of six short films highlighting the issue of sexual harassment began running in early 2017 and have now been trimmed to run as PSAs.
Schwimmer stars in one of the "That's Harassment" videos as a boss who goes too far in a conversation with a female employee. He also served as an executive producer on the project, which is now being promoted in partnership with the Ad Council, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) and the National Women's Law Center. Meanwhile, he's busy with rehearsals for "Plantation!" a comedy about race and reparations he's directing at Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre that debuts a couple of weeks after Menendez sees one of those Skittles spots.
Schwimmer says he was intrigued by the idea of showing a Super Bowl-worthy commercial to a single person. "I just thought it was really funny and inherently subversive," says Schwimmer, who says Skittles' ads appeal to his own sense of humor.
Not even the star knows which of the characters will ultimately be shown to Menendez.
"Not only do I not know, I'm not even going to see it," says Schwimmer, who says he may try to convince someone to show him a cut of the chosen spot.
Ever the professional, Schwimmer jokes he came up with backstories for the project. "We have a long history, that sandwich and I," says Schwimmer, referring to a prop seen in one teaser. "It's a companion and possibly and ex-lover. It's not revealed, eactly."
Speaking of lovers, one has to ask about a famous Ross and Rachel storyline. Does Schwimmer really think they were on a break?
"I don't know how to answer that question," Schwimmer responds. "I could tell you what Ross would say: a definitive 'yes.'"