Former Baseball Player Sollie Stars in Ad
Jan. 10, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. -
Football fans readily recognize Aaron Rodgers in those State Farm TV commercials.
But who's that dapperly dressed guy standing beside the Green Bay quarterback?
Guess Mike Sollie, former NC State baseball player.
“It’s surreal,’‘ said Sollie, who was “flabbergasted” when told he had been selected to represent State Farm in the insurance commercials that also include actor Rob Smith and actress Julie Reiber.
In one clip Sollie shakes hands with Rodgers and says: “Aaron, you're all set.”
“Thanks, that’s great’’ Rodgers responds.
“Thanks Mike for doing the double checks,’’ Smith says, glancing at Sollie.
“That’s why we comb the policies, to make sure you get all the discounts you deserve,’’ Sollie adds.
This acting role came bolting out of the blue last fall. Sollie, who opened his agency in 2008 in Raleigh, was one of many State Farm top producers nominated for the TV gig.
From Raleigh, he did an audition via skype and went back about his business of selling insurance. A few days later he got a call that knocked the “ol” Pack pitcher out of the box, so to speak.
“Congratulations!, you’re going to Green Bay to film with Aaron Rodgers September 10,” was the message. "I was flabbergasted."
Check out the commercials and it’s easy to see why Sollie was selected from among 25 finalists who auditioned. He’s tall, athletic, articulate and comfortable in front of a camera.
While acknowledging people haven’t been “ knocking his door down” for business since the ads started running, he has heard from lots of folks who saw them. And the excitement of filming the commercials no doubt ranks up there with pitching at State, where Sollie compiled a 11-6 career record and 12 saves between 1999 and 2001.
In Green Bay, he quickly connected with the personable Rodgers.
“He’s one of the nicest people, most gracious people I’ver ever met, and probably one of the funniest I’ve ever met,’’ Sollie said.
“The second he comes in the building, he says: ‘I'm Aaron, what’s your name? It’s a pleasure to meet you.’ During breaks, he asks where you’re from, asked asked about your family.
“After meeting him, I’m a die-hard Packers fan. I hope he wins every game he ever plays.”
Sollie estimates the shoot took about seven hours and about 150 takes.
Before leaving, Sollie invited Rodgers to have dinner with he and his wife, Camie, when the Packers played the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.
Rogers graciously accepted, but it didn’t pan out because of the Packers’ 8 p.m. curfew before road games. But at Christmas, Sollie received a Wheaties Box bearing an autographed picture of the fabled quarterback.
Meanwhile, he sees those “Double Check” State Farm ads that still seem surreal.
“I still have to pinch myself,’’ Sollie said. “It’s really amazing.”
By A.J. Carr