Resident nails role in Walter E. Smithe commercial

Elmhurst, IL

Mike Carson of Elmhurst is in the business of making closets, but Walter E. Smithe III of Walter E. Smithe Furniture said he’s got a future in television.

That’s because Carson nailed his role as sports reporter in the latest Walter E. Smithe commercial, “Introducing the Coffee Table Ski Jump,” broadcast throughout the Chicago area during the Winter Olympics.

Running at the same time as the furniture chain’s Gold Medal Sale and Vancouver games, the commercial shows Carson asking Walter Smithe, “what does it take to win the three-man coffee table ski jump?”

Smithe replies with “trust,” especially that of his teammates and two brothers, Tim and Mark, who then promptly launch Walter and his coffee table headfirst into a thick snowbank.

Carson, president of Elmhurst-based Closet Works, won the opportunity to be in the commercial after placing the winning bid on a Smithe furniture set at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois Wish Ball three years ago.

The bid furnished half of Carson’s home and won him an opportunity to be in a commercial, but also touched the lives of several children, said Jessica Miller, spokeswoman for Make-A-Wish Illinois.

“He effectively granted four wishes,” she said.

Tim Smithe, who develops the chain’s commercials, said Carson’s spot was the first time Smithe ever auctioned a spot in a commercial.

“It’s fun for us to pick something in current pop culture like the Winter Games and marry that with furniture,” he said. “We believe that Chicagoans didn’t buy their TV sets to watch our commercials, so we might as well entertain people.”

Scheduling conflicts kept Carson from appearing in a Smithe commercial earlier, but he enjoyed the experience.

“It’s obvious there’s good chemistry between the brothers, and they do have fun on the set,” he said. “With all the outtakes and extra stuff that goes on, it’s neat how they edited (the commercial) and put it together. It was very funny.”

The next Make-A-Wish Illinois Wish Ball will be June 26 at the University of Illinois-Chicago Forum.