VML Makes Fun of All Your Car Ads in New NAPA Campaign

By Patrick Coffee 

Let’s all take a brief moment to acknowledge something: most car ads are incredibly boring and generic.

They’re not all bad, and a lot of people obviously work very hard on the campaigns…But most of them just describe the same not-really-special features of whatever new model Brand X has rolling out this quarter along with some footage of the vehicle in question cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway or rolling in slow-mo through downtown DUMBO.

They are the reason we will always remember the phrase “0% APR financing,” whatever the fuck that means.


VML has attempted to upend these customs with a new campaign for NAPA Auto Parts. These spots are shot in the same style as all the how-cool-would-you-look-in-this-ride ads, but the creaky, rusty, fume-coughing products in question are a little closer to the average consumer’s reality.

Even the background synths are appropriate.

That was pretty good, dammit. Down to the Cadillac font.

Next, a very simple model: the white trash truck.

The “small-to-medium-size payloads” line was nice.

More copywriting in action from the YouTube page:

“In spite of the fact that you could probably fit it in the bed of most new trucks, this tiny beater has some major plusses. For example, it comes pre-dented, so instead of wiping it down with a diaper every weekend, you can do truck things that trucks are supposed to do.”

Finally: “like a fine Detroit wine, this vehicle has aged to…budgetary perfection. It’ll do zero to 60…eventually.”

ECD Aaron Evanson gave our Adweek colleague some good quotes about the one-day shoot, chief among them this Trump-worthy gem:

“A bald eagle flew overhead when we started shooting that morning. That’s how we knew it was going to be a good day—no joke. America wanted us to make these spots.”

Most Americans don’t have enough money to even think about buying a new car. They’d far rather just patch up whatever piece of shit they’re currently driving until it finally makes its way to that great junkyard in the sky…and NAPA can help them do it.

Whatever, this work was better than most of the auto campaigns we’ve seen so far this year. NAPA Auto Parts: Make Shitty, American-Owned Cars Great Again.


Client: NAPA Auto Parts
Senior Vice President of Marketing: Gaylord Spencer
Agency: VML
Executive Creative Director:  Aaron Evanson
Group Creative Director: James Holden
Creative Director: Derek Anderson
Writer: Derek Anderson
Art Director: Matt McNary
Art Director: Andrew Crane
Senior Brand Planner: Jeremy Franklin
Senior Channel Manager (Social): Chelsie McCullough
Group Director, Client Engagement: Susan Clements
Supervisor, Client Engagement: Laura Picicci
Producer: Megan Thompson
Business Affairs: Julie Kolton
Director: Reid Bangert
Production Company: North Pass Media
Audio: Evolution Audio
Editor: Matt Blume
Colorist: Taylre Jones
Senior Producer: Melissa Willis