That funny little ad that featured Jeff Gordon taking an unsuspecting car salesman for a terrifying test drive? The one that went viral this week? It seemed obvious that it took some liberties with reality, but upon further review, it’s about as real as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.
It seemed implausible that Jeff Gordon would be allowed to drive for all sorts of insurance and contractual buzzkill reasons. Moreover, could Jeff Gordon really do what looked more like stunt driving than racin’? And then there was the whole question of who takes a test drive in a deserted warehouse area (besides ax murderers).
The ad, as Elaine Benes put it, is “fake, fake, fake, fake.”
By early afternoon Thursday, alert car-savvy readers were emailing The Post to point out all sorts of problems with that ’09 Camaro. “Here is why it is fake,” Reader John wrote in an email. ” … 1st the car is shown as an 09 Camaro on the windshield… there was no 2009 model Camaro. 2nd, the video shows a Pepsi can in a cup holder above the radio.. there is no such cup holder on this car – it has been modified.”
Jalopnik further broke down the video as if it were modern Zapruder footage and reached the same conclusion as Reader John and others. The man who did the driving, Mark Plemmon of IndependentTribune.com writes, is Brad Noffsinger, a racer who works with the Richard Petty Driving Experience. The ad was shot at Troutman Motors in Concord, N.C., with actors playing all the roles and Troutman employees signed to confidentiality agreements. The stunt driving was done at an old Phillip Morris plant.
And just who was behind this? The video, Plemmon writes, was produced by Gifted Youth, a division of Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die company dedicated to — surprise — commercial production. The company, the New York Times wrote last spring, “will create videos that are purely advertising, which marketers could run online, on television or in movie theaters. Those videos are more likely to be in the standard commercial lengths of 30 to 60 seconds.” It’s the company behind the New Era celebrity baseball-rivalry ads and, if it’s involved true, it has another winner in Gordon’s test drive.
In a soft launch last year, the Times says it produced a spot in which a Kia Optima attempted to dunk over Blake Griffin. That wasn’t real either.
So far, Gordon’s little prank, uploaded to YouTube by Pepsi on Tuesday, has been viewed nearly 16 million times.
— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) March 12, 2013