Q: I keep seeing this crazed woman on one of those TV drug ads. She wears a flesh-colored leotard with a drawing of her intestines on it along with a hairdo that looks like a Raggedy Ann red wig. She looks a little familiar but I can’t place her. Is she someone I should know?
H.N., of Breese
A: She may have had roles in a dozen TV series, but now Ilana Becker says she is overjoyed to be taking her bowel ... er ... bow on Allergan’s Viberzi ads that you’ve recently been digesting. Even though it’s a role that might make others gag, she says playing the personification of a stomachache with diarrhea upsetting the lives of others is a dream part for her.
“I wanted the job from the moment I laid eyes on the copy,” Becker, who originally was hired merely to provide voiceovers for the spots, told AdWeek. “I remember thinking how much fun it would be to be able to bring Irritabelle to life.”
And bring her to life she has, playing the hyperactive colon that is continually causing trouble for her owner suffering with irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Gary Scheiner, creative director for the Arnold Worldwide ad agency, said picking Becker, best known for playing herself on MTV’s “Girl Code,” was easy.
“She actually auditioned via Skype from her bathroom,” Scheiner told AdWeek. “While we saw hundreds of talented people, she was the unanimous choice.”
Becker, who since 2005 has popped up on such shows as “My Name Is Earl,” “Alpha House” and “Odd Mom Out,” is happy with the nearly four-minute Viberzi Internet spot in which Irritabelle helps explain IBS-D in detail — in her own wacky way, of course. You can see it, along with other Becker snippets, at her website, www.ilana-becker.com/media. She says she is glad her Stoogelike role about stomach distress has viewers busting a gut, sometimes in the most unusual places.
“My favorite reaction so far was a message from someone I don’t know, who works in a classified military ‘war room’ with those giant TVs that show things they’re tracking, along with world news,” she said. “The commercial came on, and they all stopped and belly-laughed. I hope I don’t get him in trouble, but to be the reason someone takes a moment to laugh is kind of the best thing ever.”