Forget the Costumes, Which Ads Will Be on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Season 14?

Well kids, bet you didn’t realize this, but ABC’s popular dance competition show, Dancing with the Stars — where C-list celebrities (okay, more like D or E-list) duke it out on the dance floor — is coming back for its 14th season in March. I hate admitting I watch this show, but it’s one that my mom and I look forward to. We never vote, but we love the costumes so we put up with Tom Bergeron’s lame jokes and Len Goodman’s kill-joy attitude.

The latest 12 contestants were announced and for the first time I had only heard of 5 of them, not the majority like in past seasons. At first I felt like I’d been living under a rock for the last ten months, but then I did a little research (if you’re a regular reader, then you know I never do this) of the new dancers and it made sense to me why they were chosen. I then started to wonder which ads I’d be subjected to based on this year’s contestants: these are my predictions!

1. Sherri Shepherd is an actress, comedienne, and one of the co-hosts for ABC’s popular daytime talk show The View (I’m sure it was a complete coincidence she was asked). She was probably selected to pull in the 25-45 year old woman demographic. Unfortunately, paper towels, toilet paper, and minivan commercials will be on the rise since that’s apparently all women of this age worry about according to advertisers.

2. Jack Wagner is a soap actor who has most recently been on The Bold and the Beautiful, Melrose Place, and General Hospital (aired on ABC). His acting career has spanned several decades and different types: TV shows, theatrical performances, and TV movies. He’ll be sure to get the attention of the soap fans out there (I’m sure he’s the one my 85 year old grandmother will be rooting for). Get ready for lots of pharmaceutical ads for aliments you didn’t even know you could have!

Martina Navratilova

3. Martina Navratilova is the only tennis player in history to win Grand Slam titles in four different decades, including a record 9 Wimbledon singles championships! She is currently the Fitness Ambassador for AARP, and in 2010, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is now cancer-free and has become a champion for breast cancer awareness. Look for ads that empower women as well as young girls; I predict lots of Nike and ADIDAS commercials.

4. Gladys Knight will make you stand up and sing “That’s What Friends are For” when you see her descend down the staircase. She has recorded more than 38 albums over the years, including four solo albums during the past decade alone. I’m pretty sure this is someone I’ve heard my mom talk about. She recently appeared in the Tyler Perry film I Can Do Bad All by Myself, so be looking for ads promoting his latest films and projects.

5. Melissa Gilbert didn’t instantly make me go, “oh her!” but when I realized she played Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, I remembered her (or at least when she was nine). She’s done a lot since her days on the prairie, including making her directorial debut with the ABC after school special Me and My Hormones (wow, another ABC connection. Shocking). She’s a devoted mother to her four sons, so be ready for laundry detergent commercials, as well as ads for Walmart and Honda minivans.

Katherine Jenkins

6. Katherine Jenkins is one of the contestants I had never heard of before, but apparently she’s a Mezzo Soprano who has sold over seven million albums since her career took off in 2004. She is also known for her long-standing work with the British Forces Foundation and has made various trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to help entertain the troops. This support for the troops has led her to being referred to as the Forces Sweetheart. I think ABC is hoping that America’s military families will appreciate having someone to root for.

7. Jaleel White, or as he’s better known, Steve Urkel from Family Matters, will be showing off his mad dancing skills (hope they’ve improved since the nineties). He played a role in the feature film last year Judy Moody and the Not So Bummer Summer, and produced and starred in his own web series Fake It ‘Til You Make It. He seems to be pretty big with the kiddos as well as their parents who remember him from back in the day. Look for ads featuring upcoming kids and family movies during the commercial breaks.

8. Roshon Fegan is another contestant that I’d never heard of. Chances are though, if you don’t regularly watch Disney Channel (which is owned by ABC) he’s a fresh face. He’s this season’s required ‘teenybopper-heart-throb’ to get parents and kids to sit and watch together in peace. Look for lots of ads promoting anything Disney or family related, especially those Disney theme park commercials that we all know and love.

9. Donald Driver is a receiver for the famed Green Bay Packers and will be this season’s quintessential “sports celebrity” to get guys interested to watch. He comes from a very interesting background; he grew up homeless and lived in a U-Haul truck for a period of time. Because of his past he became very community-minded. He his wife, Betina, created the Donald Driver Foundation in 2001 with a focus on homelessness, education, and health and wellness initiatives. Bring on the ads for the guys in the room; truck and car commercials and some ads focused on the snack aisles of the grocery stores.

Gavin DeGraw

10. Gavin DeGraw will also be on this season, which will be great to promote his latest CD, ‘Sweeter,’ which dropped in September. He’s best known for his singing career (“Chariot” and “Not Over You” probably come to mind) and for “penning” the One Tree Hill theme song. He’ll bring in the female 18-34 demographic probably, so lots of makeup commercials.

11. William Levy is an interesting choice for DWTS, but one look into his eyes and you’ll know why this “Brad Pitt of Mexico” was chosen. He’s been on several telenovas which will pull in the Hispanic market that ABC has maybe been hoping to attract. Not that I’m complaining, I wouldn’t mind seeing him samba or waltz!

12. Last but certainly not least is Maria Menounos, who has been seen on TV for years, whether on Entertainment Tonight, Today, Dateline or Nightly News. With her work she has traveled to El Salvador, South Africa, and Afghanistan to report on earthquakes, the AIDS epidemic and the war. Instead of passively sitting back, she created the charity “Take Action Hollywood!” — which tries to use the powerhouse of the entertainment industry to educate, empower and raise social awareness. She’ll be sure to bring in both female and male demographics!

Whether you love or hate this show, you have to admit it sure gets people talking. We’ll see how accurate these predictions are when the season starts up on Monday, March 19th at 8/7 central.

Who do you see going to the finale? Who do you think will be the first to go? Do you even care? Shout off below!

Image credit to dbking, branestawm2002, Maria Nyman, and

Amy Hoidas

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ Community Manager. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can also connect with Amy on


  1. Jill Tooley

    As you know, I don’t watch DWTS. However, based on the participants this year, I think your ad/commercial predictions are accurate! It seems like there’ll be a good mix of ads: everything from sports merch to minivans. 🙂

    I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that Sherri Shepherd is going to be among the first to go. She doesn’t seem like the type that would make it all the way to the end…doesn’t strike me as a “team player” for some reason. I’ll root for Jaleel White or Martina Navratilova — they’re the only two I’m familiar with, PLUS they seem like they’ve got rhythm!

    • Amy Swanson

      Haha, I think you’re right about Sherri Shepherd. I don’t see her making it past the second or third episode for some reason. I hope she proves me wrong since she doesn’t have any dance experience (to my knowledge) so the Cinderella stories always make for a great season. We shall see though in less than a week 🙂

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    I’ll be honest. I don’t care. But then again, reality/competition shows don’t really strike my fancy. The most I see of DWTS is the two minutes before Castle unless there’s someone I really like. None of these “celebrities” make the cut.

    But regardless of my feelings, I think that you’re spot on with your ad predictions! I’m guessing Doritos, followed by a Dodge Caravan, and finished with a Disney World. 🙂

    • Amy Swanson

      Hahaha, don’t hold back Mandy 😉 I love watching the commericals just to see who marketers and advertisers are hoping are watching. Competition style shows always draw an interesting audience since you get young, old, educated, uneducated, rich, poor, etc.

      Watch out for that Bounty Paper Towel chaser, it’s a doozy!

  3. Rachel

    Now I have Gavin DeGraw songs stuck in my head, argh! 😉 Really interesting post, Amy — I don’t watch DWTS, but your post definitely shows how the contestants they pick are made with marketing demographics in mind. I have no clue who will win this year … but I’ll go with Katherine Jenkins, mostly because she was in a Christmas special of Doctor Who. 🙂 Great post, Amy!

    • Amy Swanson

      Thanks Rachel! I love the unpredictability of DWTS, the people I think should go, stick around since fans vote for them and people that should win are voted off the show before the finale. The excitement is sometimes too much to handle, curse you ABC!!

  4. Alex Brodsky

    Great post Amy, and I’m pretty sure you’re spot-on with what types of ads. Don’t forget that people who watch (absolutely NOT including myself) will be bombarded with advertisements for “Modern Family”, “The Middle”, and the return of Jonny Moxon with “Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23”

    • Amy Swanson

      Very true, Alex! I did forget to mention the network programming that will definitely be taken advantage of by ABC to promote their other shows. Wonder if they’ll do any cross-promotion like they did 2 years ago with Castle and Tom Bergeron. Guess we’ll find out in a few days!

      • Jaimie Smith

        Amy this was such a cool post!! And I know you worked hard on it, i remember hearing about it in the meetings. It turned out great. I do not watch this show (I hear about it all the time, though) But I am pretty sure your predictions of ads are pretty accurate.
        And wow, I feel like I have been stuck under a rock or something, the only one I was familiar with was Gavin Degraw, basically just because, we all know how much i love my one tree hill 🙂

        • Amy Swanson

          Thanks Jaimie 🙂

          I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who didn’t a lot or any of the contestants. Sometimes I feel like such an old lady with celebrities, haha!

  5. Eric

    Monday at 8/7C? That’s “House, M.D.!!!” Final season! While I can’t say I’ll likely see a second of DWTS, I will say the ad predictions sound pretty on-point, and if they aren’t, well, they ought to be taking notes from this blog, because you’ve nailed their key demographic groups. And, to bring it full circle…upon perusing Jaleel’s IMDB page, turns out he had a guest role on “House.” Crazy!

    • Amy Swanson

      Thanks, Eric! I sometimes love watching commercials just to try and fit them into a demographic, the time of day is a huge factor too. Watch CBS at 5 PM versus 8 PM and you have a much different audience 😉

      Excellent job at making your comment come full circle, it’s not always easy, haha!

  6. Jen

    I always see William Levy on The Soup, there is always a montage of his sensual stares and glances. It’s really funny and he is totally dreamy. I can see him winning it all, he just looks like he would be a great dancer. Awesome post Amy, now when my mom and grandma are talking about this show I will know what they are talking about.

    • Amy Swanson

      He’s very dreamy indeed! I wouldn’t mind seeing him samba shirtless each week 😉

      Glad this helped you stay current with your mom and grandma, Jen!

  7. Jenna Markowski

    It definitely seems like they’re starting to run out of celebrities to compete (14 seasons?! C’mon!) considering I’d only heard of a few of these contestants. I’m sure Jaleel White is just going to LOVE having his career as Urkel brought back into the limelight. And is Gavin DeGraw really a washed-up celebrity already? That makes me feel old..

    Even though the contestants seem like quite a motley crew, your run-down makes it all make sense! ABC was able to get a little bit of everything with this season’s contestants, so they’ll be able to run advertisements for pretty much everyone!

    • Amy Swanson

      You know Jaleel White is going to do some spoof of his Urkel dance at some point during the show, hahaha! And I hope Gavin DeGraw isn’t a washed-up celebrity, I still like singing along to his songs (guilty pleasure #251).

      Thanks so much for commenting, Jenna!

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