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The 'Liberty Insurance Man', and how he became Ireland's new best friend

Introducing Bobby Sylvia.

WHEN LIBERTY INSURANCE entered the Irish market back in 2012, they launched an ad campaign to announce their arrival.

The entire campaign was fronted by a confident American man who eventually became known to the Irish people as “Liberty Insurance Man”.

libinsurance Source: RothcoBlog/YouTube

Between television ads, outdoor billboards and Late Late Show sting, Liberty Insurance Man quickly became a constant presence in our lives.

We were bowled over by his self-assuredness.

His handsomeness.

And just his overall Americanness. 

But who is the Liberty Insurance Man, really?

Meet Bobby Sylvia.

bobby Source: Liberty Insurance | Ireland

Massachusetts-based Sylvia spent over a year as one of the most recognisable faces in Ireland, but how did he land the role in the first place?

An engineer by trade, Sylvia tells DailyEdge.ie that he always maintained a sideline interest in the performing arts.

I have a passion for performing and have been doing some combination of theater (mostly musical), film, TV, modeling, and singing in bands for over 25 years.

Indeed, he has previously worked with the likes of Coca-Cola, Six Flags, CVS and more on modeling campaigns.

When they decided to enter the Irish market, Liberty Insurance held a casting call in Boston, which Sylvia attended. “I went to the audition like I go to any other audition, hoping to be cast,” he tells us.

bobby2 Source: Bobby Sylvia

Of course, Sylvia wound up landing the part, something which he took immense pride in.

It was a great honor to be cast for this one, because basically what they are saying is that they see in me the things that the company represents like honesty, integrity, dignity.

The actor had never been to Ireland prior to the campaign being shot, but says he “fell in love” with it while he was here.

The culture. The pride. The wit. The conversation. I just thoroughly enjoyed the experiences I had there.

Sylvia was back in the United States when the campaign commenced airing, which meant that he was fairly removed from all the hoopla.

As he explains, he witnessed the whole thing unfold from a slightly peculiar vantage point: Twitter.

When the ads first hit the air, and especially the Late Late stings which were seen by millions, I would see quite a lot of activity on Twitter around the ‘Liberty Insurance guy’. So I knew that something was happening over there as far as my person, so to speak, becoming very recognized by the public so much so that people were forming strong opinions about the man both good and bad.

Did he regret not being around to see it for himself? Kind of, but not really.

Sometimes I would think, “Man, it’d be cool to be there right now.” And, sometimes, “Man, glad I’m not there right now.”

Looking back, Sylvia describes the whole thing as a “surreal experience” and one that has undoubtedly helped his acting career.

Local casting agents know that I have some high-profile experience, which seems to get me more request auditions. But, keep in mind that the ads are not shown here in the States, so I’ve gained no, let’s say, recognition by the public here related to the ads. But that’s fine with me. I don’t perform for the fame. I do it because I love it.
And as for his family and friends? They’re proud as punch.
They have seen me shape my life around my responsibilities and also my passions like performing. And, after so many years of sticking with it for something significant like this to happen it’s certainly quite an achievement.
The same goes for Sylvia himself, who states that he is content and proud even if he doesn’t end up doing anything bigger.
I star in an award winning national ad campaign in Ireland. That’s something special. I feel like if I never do anything bigger than that, I’ll still be happy with the accomplishment. I’m proud of that work, and thankful for it.

Meet the Limerick woman who went global by turning herself into celebrities >

About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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