As y’all know, I worked for an ad agency for a few years. The majority of our clients were in the auto industry. Car dealerships are a prime target for advertisers for two reasons: they have a lot of money to spend, and their industry is notorious for having crappy commercials. Don’t act like this is big news. Tulsa folks, you’re lying if you have never expressed disdain or annoyance at any of the following: Kristen Glover and her perky blondness, Danny Beck and his fake Green Acres commercials, the Keystone Kutter with his bad suit and sunglasses (and let’s not forget the fire that they milked for more than a year) or the Express Credit Auto people that insist on pointing at you during their spots. Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
So the company I worked for decided to make a commercial that crammed all of the typical cliches that car folks use into one commercial, just for fun. Obviously, we couldn’t fit it into 30 seconds. But we made it work. Let’s break this down, just for fun. First, watch the spot HERE.
First of all, it rained. That wasn’t in the script. But we had already secured the crew, the location, and the talent, so you just roll with it. We needed the guys to wear tacky clothes, in a nod to the classic “used car salesman.” The clothes came from Goodwill. Josh, the blonde guy, was wearing women’s pants, because that’s all they had in his size.
The whole spoof was “Ding-Dong Motors.” We needed Ding-Dongs for the spot. Guess what got discontinued during the whole Hostess shutdown? Yeah. Ding-Dongs. Little Debbie makes a knock-off. As you can tell when Nathan (the guy not wearing women’s pants) is eating his, it’s much smaller than a typical Ding-Dong. (OMG. Yes, I just typed that.)
We made Nathan do the “makin’ it rain” take probably 30 times, because we really wanted him to have that chocolate gunked all over his teeth. Nathan is a pretty physically fit guy, and he was not thrilled about eating that many Ding-Dongs. (OMG. Funny AGAIN!) So he worked around it by just taking one bite each time. The camera guy ended up with an SUV full of half-eaten Ding-Dongs in the back.
Both our actors were miked up. In the rain. I was terrified that one (or both) would be electrocuted. I consider both of these guys my friends, and I really didn’t want anything bad to happen. Although Josh might not be my friend anymore after I just outed him on the women’s pants.
Then I got to play the wife of my boss. In the pouring rain. In a borrowed poncho. Looking good in the rain is kind of like being a pretty crier. Either you can nail it or you can’t. I can’t. I look terrible in the rain, and I’m an ugly crier.
That hideously ugly truck belongs to my father-in-law. It’s his “work truck.” Being that he’s been retired for years and years, it’s more like his back-up, third vehicle. Or the vehicle he uses when he needs to haul something. He was willing to loan us the truck, but only if we didn’t make fun of it in the commercial. Oops. Sorry, Jerry. Thanks for letting us use your truck. And don’t worry, that wasn’t really his hubcap that we knocked off.
The last thing that stands out in this spot is the tagline “Experience the difference.” If you’re a business and you’re using this, please stop. It’s overused, it’s silly, and it doesn’t mean anything, really. Now that I’ve pointed that out, you’ll notice how many people use it. And how “not different” they all are.