Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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January 9, 2014

Doritos ad features ’65 Blazer graduate

ASHLAND — After decades honing his acting skills with roles written by Shakespeare and other greats, Jim Coates is completely cool with the idea of becoming the next “Where’s the beef?”actor with his brief part in a Doritos commercial competing for airplay during this year’s Super Bowl.

Coates, 66, a member of the Paul G. Blazer High School Class of 1965, said he began his acting career in 1992 after working as a college professor to raise a son and a daughter.

“Once they were grown, I ran away to be an actor,’” he said this week during an interview from his home in Phoenix, explaining his sister actually kicked off his acting career years ago when she would dress him up and shove him out to entertain family guests.

Characters created by Shakespeare have been a favorite, he said, noting he’s been cast for “about 50 of the old man Shakespeare roles. I’m pretty good at it.” He adds, “My type is ‘Crazy little old man.’”

For the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl VIII “Time Machine” commercial, Coates said he received a call from the ad’s creator, Raj Suri, who had previously been involved with several of the snack food’s Super Bowl ads which registered in the top 20 during previous competitions.

“They had been studying the rules from Doritos,” he said, explaining the team felt they had a winner with the current “Time Machine” ad, which features Coates portraying an old man who is confused for a young boy who duped a passerby into trading his Doritos for a journey in a home-built time machine. “While we were filming it, they kept saying ‘This one is going to be the one.’”

Coates has only one line in the commercial, although he jokes that it could be the line he is remembered for delivering.

“I could be the Clara Peller of the 21st century — instead of ‘Where’s the beef?’ it will be ‘Get out of my yard!’ If I become the Clara Peller of the 21st century, I’ll take it,” he said with a laugh.

Coates said he was pleased with the final result of the Doritos commercial, especially an improvised part between himself and the ad’s lead actor.

“He just crushed my head to his chest and said, ‘It’s the future!’” And then you see me looking just awful,” he said, adding the final take was one of several improvised scenes during filming.

Coates said he is looking forward to coming back to Ashland for his 50th high school class reunion next year.

“I’m all psyched up to come back and see everybody. Our 50th ... we’re getting old,” he said, noting his family lived in Ashland when he was 13 to 18 years old, and that he was among the students in the first classes at the then-new Paul Blazer campus. The first class that graduated from there was 1963.

The Doritos ad creatortold Baltimore’s WJZ-TV the ad selection process has been unusual.

“We are all pretty excited and pretty thrilled,” Suri said. “This whole experience has been surreal.”

The ad only cost $300 to make, and is one of the top five finalists in the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest.

“We shot the commercial at my director’s parents’ house,” Suri said. “The dog is the family dog.  Now you can see how we’re sticking to 300 bucks, right?”

Two of the five finalists, one picked by Doritos and another by fans in an online poll, will air during the big game. There’s also a $1 million grand prize for the ad that receives the most votes. Suri said simplicity may be the key to the ad’s appeal.

“Just really appealing, really cute, really sweet and I think it’s really funny, and I think it’s rare that you have all of those elements and I think it’s just a spot that everyone can be proud of,” he said.

To vote for the ad featuring Coates, visit doritos.com. For more information about Coates, visit actsup.com.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at

tpreston@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2651.

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