It was a brilliant marketing tool used by Pepsi. A video featuring NASCAR Driver Jeff Gordon pranking a car salesman went viral Tuesday. In it a disguised Gordon, a four time NASCAR champion plays a middle aged ‘normal’ man looking for a car. He takes an unsuspecting salesperson on the test ride of his life.
In the video we see Gordon wearing a fake beard and moustache sheepishly look at a Chevrolet Camaro while the salesperson, Steve, seizes what he thinks to be an opportunity to sell a car. After a few stumbles, Gordon takes Steve on a wild ride while hanging on for dear life and cussing like a sailor.
There is of course a great deal of placement for PepsiMax, Gordon has an unopened can that is actually a camera, but the video is hilarious and delivers the laughs along with plenty of brand exposure. But the incident wasn’t as spontaneous as it appeared. According to the owner of the car dealership where the video was filmed the setup started long before Steve met Gordon. It was also reveled that the actual car used didn’t belong to the dealership.
“We started early in the morning,” dealership owner Wayne Troutman said in an interview with the syndicated show ‘RightThisMinute’. “Probably 6:30 in the morning that they did that video and they were there until dark that night. They supplied the car it was a very high performance car since they knew they would be going with some special tricks with that one."
Troutman praised his unknowing salesperson Steve.
"He did a great job,” Troutman said. “He fell right in to it and a lot of his reactions were very realistic because they were. Once he realized he'd been punked he settled down, but he was really hot when he came back in as you could see from the video. In fact he actually went out on another normal ride with Jeff.”
In fact Troutman added that Gordon himself had a great deal of involvement with the project.
"Jeff had a lot of input in this,” he said. “Not only to the car that was selected to the disguise to the…he actually tried to ahead of time pick the salesman he thought would be the best one to try to pull the prank on. We actually loaned Jeff a 1998 Chevy Venture Van to ride in so he looked like he was another normal North Carolina redneck."
In the end the agency behind the video delivered a funny bit that not only went viral, but increased the brand exposure of the product.