“It must be true. I saw it on the internet”, is a phrase I hope no man, woman or child has ever said with a straight face. The web is like an intangible version of The Daily Mail, as you can never be quite sure if what you’re reading, watching or listening to is solidly based in fact, even if it purports to be so. Especially if what you’re watching is a viral advertisement.
The other day, Pepsi uploaded a video to YouTube allegedly showing three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon scaring an innocent used car salesman absolutely shitless in a Chevy Camaro. Gordon, who had donned a disguise, was given a test drive in the Camaro within seconds of arriving at the dealership. Predictably, he drove (or did he?) like a madman - taking the salesman completely by surprise. Result? A viral hit, they hoped.
It was all fake. A bit of digging by our friends at Jalopnik revealed as much. Evidence suggests everyone involved was an actor, even the screeching salesman, and the Camaro wasn’t even driven by Gordon himself. Moreover, the car was mis-badged as a 2009 model, even though the Camaro didn’t go on sale until 2010 and the specific car in the video was a 2013. It was only a V6, too, not a V8 as the video’s soundtrack would lead you to believe.
The only concession to honesty is the legally mandated "Professional driver. Closed course. Do not attempt" wording a few seconds in.
The fact it’s most likely fake comes as no surprise to any of us at CT HQ, what is surprising is that it took a few determined writers to reveal as much. Unsurprising, but disappointing nonetheless. About as disappointing as, well, Pepsi itself.
Pepsi, or rather their ad’ agency, had a good idea, and they ruined it. Surely it would’ve been easier to simply do it for real, rather than hire a bevy of extras, stunt drivers and an entire car dealership for the day? Moreover, they wouldn’t have deceived their viewers quite so wantonly. Staging such an ad’ is pointless and deceptive. We think it's a downright pathetic attempt at courting interest.
Man up, do it for real.