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Artie Beaty

Jeff Gordon "Test Drive" Commercial for Pepsi - Real or Fake?

By March 15, 2013

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This post is about the first "test drive" commercial focused on Jeff Gordon at a Charlotte car dealership. For details on the second one with Gordon as a taxi driver, click here.

By now, I'm sure a lot of you have seen the "test drive" commercial from Pepsi featuring NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. Here's a link to the ad if you haven't. The ad was filmed at a car dealership just outside of Charlotte (in Concord), and features Gordon taking an unsuspecting car salesman on a ridiculous test drive full of burnouts, spins, high speeds and all sorts of driving fit for an action movie. The "salesman" of course panics, and hilarity ensues. The only thing is... the ad is fake. It's not even close to being real. The salesman is an actor, the dealership was in on the whole thing, the driving was done on a closed set, and Jeff Gordon didn't even do the driving. But while it's not "real" in the sense that it's not an actual prank, what's real is that this is a very well done advertisement for Pepsi. The ad has raked in tens of millions of views on YouTube in the past few days.

Eagle-eyed viewers online have pointed out plenty of mistakes in the ad. Here are just a few:

  • The car is supposedly a 2009 Camaro, but there wasn't even a Camaro produced that year. The newest generation of Camaros went on sale in late 2009, but they were branded as 2010.
  • The interior of the "2009" Camaro is actually the inside of a 2013 model.
  • Watch the ground where the test drive finishes. You'll see tire marks from numerous burnouts in multiple takes.
  • You don't see any shots of Jeff Gordon actually driving. That's because he didn't - that was a professional stunt driver. Having a stunt driver is extremely common for this sort of thing.
  • The ad shows a cupholder directly in the center of the Camaro's dashboard. I've never seen any car with a cupholder like that, much less a Camaro.
  • If the ad is to be believed, the salesman starts a test drive 20 seconds after meeting the customer - in a car he's not even interested in.

There are plenty of other tells that the ad is fake (including the studio and Jeff Gordon admitting as such), but those are just some of the biggest. The ad is pretty funny, and it's making the rounds on social media. I know I've seen it posted at least 10 times. It's nice to see a Charlotte connection, but unfortunately, it's just movie magic.

March 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm
(1) Heidi Johnson says:

Its a freekin commercial for Gods sake. I know the first time I saw it I didnt assume it was real at all! It was a cute commercial – thats it! a commercial! Why make a fuss and make it a big deal. Damn!

March 28, 2013 at 4:11 am
(2) Darius says:

Heidi, Pepsi implies this test drive is a real event, where the salesperson is unaware of the prank, which brings a different emotional involvement in the message their show. It’s false advertising.

Or are you fine with lies from brands in commercials all the way to false promises with health products for the sake of the cuteness?

May 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm
(3) Kevin says:

According to the “behind-the-scene” article and video here: http://gmauthority.com/blog/2013/03/jeff-gordonpepsi-chevy-camaro-prank-behind-the-scenes/

this is not so fake as some people are saying. Of course the dealership owners knew about the prank (they even loaned him the mini-van he arrived in), but the salesman did not know about the prank beforehand.

From what is said in the “behind-the-scene” article and video, it sounds like Jeff Gordon was behind the wheel for the “prank test drive” (no stunt driver).

It’s a prank, and as with any prank (ala “Prank-My-Mom”, “Punk’d (Ashton Kutcher)”, …) some people are “in” on it and others are not, and certain things are “setup” in advance, some things are “fake” (like fake police, fake accident scene, faked injuries). But that doesn’t in any way make it a “fake” prank.

March 5, 2014 at 11:06 am
(4) Pure Green Coffee Bean says:

I do not even know the way I stopped up right here, but I believed this put up was good.
I don’t realize who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already.


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