You may have seen the ad for Pepsi MAX in which racecar driver Jeff Gordon disguises himself, goes for a test drive and scares the bejeepers out of the used car sales salesman. It's only part of the experience, and you're pointed to the full 3-1/2 minute video online. That video has gone viral and been viewed 16 million times.
It's an entertaining ad, though a few things struck me as odd. For starters, it seemed like a very dangerous thing to do, something most athletes are loathe to do for the sake of a TV ad. It also seemed like strange environment, particularly when the salesman starts crying out, "You can't go through that!!"
I did a little search, and it turns out...well, how about that, it is fake.
As this article in the Washington Post here points out, they've gotten a lot of emails from car salesmen explaining the "problems" with the ad. One giveaway -- the car windshield is marked "2009 Camaro," and there was no 2009 Camaro. Also, as another salesman pointed out, what car dealership is set up at a warehouse with a test-drive track? And yes, as the article notes, the insurance on Gordon would have been excessive.
One reader here even broke down the video in some detail, worthy of a trainee for CIA analyst.
It's all fake. It's not even Jeff Gordon doing the driving, but a professional stunt driver. (That makes sense, since after all, what we see is isn't racetrack driving at all, but stunt work.) The video was produced by the advertising division of the Funny or Die website group.
But regardless of being fake, as far as ads go it sure did what it set out to. 16 million Internet views attests to that.
For those interested in such things, here's the full video --
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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