Advertising and marketing can be as exciting or as dreary as the marketing man with the streamlined spectacles and the pinstripe suit wants it to be. Usually for car advertising the outcome is nothing more than a car driving far too slowly down an otherwise gorgeous looking road in the hills of spain, maybe a Fiat 500 turning into a submarine – or something…
Diverging from the cars a little, Pepsi Max has been doing rather well with their latest campaign where their ubiquitous canned drink can get you out of anything, which must be reassuring for the company when reading responses to their latest carbonated adventure.
The plot is very tasty, American racing legend Jeff Gordon heads undercover to a used car lot and the salesman persuades him to take a test drive of his Chevrolet Camaro SS. All very good up to this point. Jeff says that he probably couldn’t handle the mighty 6.2 litre V8 but the salesman continues regardless and hands over the keys. What happens next is unexpected – the Camaro goes soaring off into the distance like something off Top Gear and into an erratic spectacle of jumps and power slides filled with V8 roaring and tyre screeching. If you were a kid or you knew nothing about cars your jaws at this point would probably have decoupled from your face and dropped to the floor, but if you are a proper wheel nut, look closer.
This advert would have been a perfect display of ‘taking it to the Pepsi Max’ but it unfortunately falls short because the whole thing actually fake! Check out the Camaro, many would just see the colour and think ‘brilliant. Nice car’, but delve further. The sticker in the windscreen says ’09’, but inside it has Chevy’s new MyLink system, this car is a 2013 Camaro! Though sure, that could be a genuine mistake, but what couldn’t have been is the quite frankly hideous can holder glued onto the dash. Nobody at Chevrolet in their right mind would make something that looks so out of place, it was clearly stuck there before they started filming, either that or the salesman had an unhealthy obsession with canned soda.
But that poses the question, does it really matter that the whole advert is faked? Will anybody give two damns as to the context when all they really want to see is a Camaro going sideways and doing its best General Lee impression around the local industrial estate? It’s kids stuff really.
Pepsi Max had one vision, to create a hype – to cause a stir, if you will. And with this advert they really have achieved this. It’s very convincing to the untrained eye and because of this, the video almost has 18,000,000 views on YouTube.
Incredible for something that has only existed for a few days. There is a lot of good behind this commercial.
The salesman in particular expresses that typical ‘you can buy one better’ attitude that is pretty much universal across the car sales business, and when on the test drive his acting skills – or rather, raw fear – takes over and you can tell that he is genuinely scared. Pepsi have revealed that they did use a stunt driver for all of the Dukes of Hazard style tomfoolery but the salesman’s reactions were totally authentic.
So what the advert wasn’t really that truthful, these days barely anything on TV is true to its meaning. The Top Gear clothes change during the Nissan Leaf review to make it look like it took 2 days to charge, and the person whispering to one of the judges on the X-Factor all come to mind. Though that’s not enough to make us hate the show now, is it? We TG fans still come crawling to our sofas on a sunday night, hugely anticipating the spectacle that will unfold before our eyes. These huge conglomerates may always have something up their sleeves, but for pure entertainment value, Pepsi is most definitely quids in on this one.
By Dan Agombar ( @DMAgombar )