The TV Perils of Ron and Mike


Buddy Humor Begins at GSD&M for Pennzoil’s Gumout Spots
DALLAS–A new campaign for Pennzoil-Quaker State’s Gumout fuel additive features two buddies who can’t seem to die, no matter how often their car engine does.
In the first 30-second television commercial, from GSD&M in Austin, Texas, the car plunges off a cliff after failing to overtake a RV on a mountainous pass. The two occupants engage in a hilarious, midair diagnosis of the problem. “Whoa, I guess I came up a little short back there,” says Ron, the driver.
“I know I heard some engine hesitation as you tried to pass,” says his upside-down passenger, Mike.
“You sure?”
“You should have used Gumout,” Mike says, launching into a description of the fuel additive. The spot ends with the car plunging nose first into the ground.
A second execution shows the pair, in neck braces and bandages, parked on a train track where their car is stalled. Mike berates Ron for once again failing to use Gumout before they are rammed by an oncoming train.
In the final execution, the car stalls in the desert. The two men, covered in more bandages, discuss the merits of Gumout as they are harassed by buzzards.
The tagline: “You never know when you’ll need it.”
GSD&M art and creative director Juan Perez said inspiration for the campaign came from his own relationship with writer and creative director Mike Woolf. “Ron is Juan and Mike is Mike,” Perez said. “We’re always picking on each other and driving each other nuts. Sometimes it’s us going off cliffs and hitting trains.”
The campaign, launched this month, is running through October exclusively on ESPN as part of Gumout’s sponsorship of Major League Baseball. The budget for the campaign, which also includes print, was not disclosed.
The Mike and Ron spots replace a more straightforward, celebrity-endorsement series from GSD&M featuring automotive racing executive Joe Gibbs.
“Last year we went through the exercise of repositioning the brand,” said GSD&M vice president and account director Nancy George. “Gumout was known as carburetor cleaner. With the development of fuel injection systems, we needed to characterize it as a fuel additive positioned as a performance enhancer.” The agency opted for a livelier approach to reach a target market of younger males, she said .