CarMax Reimagines Car Buying With an Alpaca and a Futuristic Warning

By Kyle O'Brien 

CarMax has been helping consumers find an easier way to buy and sell a car for a while, and its “Car Buying Reimagined” campaign launches with two vastly different spots written by a husband and wife team from The Martin Agency.

The two ads highlight how easy it is to sell and buy a car with CarMax. In one spot, an alpaca feels the need to go for a ride and somehow has the knowhow to purchase online from CarMax so his owner can let him hang his head out the sunroof.


In another, a woman imagines her car sitting in a bleak futuristic landscape, still for sale after decades with a flimsy sale sign in the window.

Two associate creative directors at The Martin Agency, Elliot and Allie Nordstrom, came up with the ideas.

“There’s no backstory of (the alpaca) inheriting a fortune from his rich alpaca uncle Ferdinand. He didn’t take night classes to learn to type with hooves. Honestly, we just loved the idea of telling a story about a character who wanted a car and could go online and buy one easily—you know, like a kid in a parents’ app store. And an alpaca with his head out of a sunroof, listening to a banger, driving down a highway was too good to resist,” the Nordstroms told Adweek. They added that the clients at CarMax embraced the playfulness of the idea.

The armageddon spot highlighted online offers in under two minutes, and the client greenlit that one as well. “To their credit, they often asked us to push it further,” said the Nordstroms.

Being a husband and wife creative team during a pandemic mean that the Nordstroms have been together essentially all the time, though the two see it in the most positive light.

“Being a married team has actually been a blessing during the pandemic. While most creatives had to concept over Zoom, we just hung out in our living room or went for connecting walks with our son. But the truth is, we still fight about ideas as much as any creative team. So we have to go out of our way to spend time apart, so we don’t just blend into the same person. We also have to work hard not to think about advertising,” they stated.