Where Peyton Manning got his start in advertising: Bill Estes

Bill Estes chats with Peyton Manning in a commercial. (Provided Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — You’ve seen him on the field, in the community and on the air.

No doubt about it, former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning grabs your attention. But few ads hold more iconic to the Indianapolis area than Bill Estes Chevrolet.

“I got him started! Don’t you think?! I springboarded him! I mean, think about it! He’d never been on TV before; I got him started,” Bill Estes said. “I’m not getting a check in the mail very often. I’m not!”

The joking nature Estes showed during those commercials still holds true today. His relationship with Manning began long before No. 18 gained notoriety Indianapolis.

“We met Archie (Manning’s dad) in New Orleans. So in ’98, when Peyton was drafted, it was just logical for me to reach out to him,” Estes said. “And say is there anything I could do for him? And so on and so forth. He drove our vehicles for a while. And obviously became a spokesman for us.”

A business partnership formed as the Estes ads took over Indianapolis airwaves.

“It took him a while, but I wasn’t great at it either. We really kind of grew together. But it really kicked off when he would make fun of me,” Estes said. “We had a special chemistry. It was really a lot of fun. And the customer felt it. The strength and the power of his marketing ability is just unbelievable.”

So the next time you see Manning on your television, remember who got No. 18 started.