Ad of the Day: Jeff Gordon and PepsiMAX Get Revenge on Writer Who Said ‘Test Drive’ Was Fake

Sequel to viral smash

Headshot of Tim Nudd

PepsiMAX had an enormous viral hit last year with its "Test Drive" video, in which Jeff Gordon, in disguise, took a car salesman for the most terrifying ride of his life. With more than 40 million views, the spot was an unquestioned success. The only problem? A vocal minority complained that the stunt had been faked.

Travis Okulski of auto blog Jalopnik was among the loudest critics. "Jeff Gordon did not drive the car and every single person in the video was an actor," he claimed in a post last March, shortly after the video was released.

So now, for a followup, Gordon and PepsiMAX get exquisite revenge on Okulski. Working with Jalopnik, they lure him to Charlotte, N.C., ostensibly to get a sneak peek at the new Corvette Z06.

Instead, Okulski becomes the guinea pig in a new "Test Drive" video, as Gordon—once again in disguise—picks him up in a yellow cab and takes him for a white-knuckle drive, with police in hot pursuit. Okulski completely, hilariously freaks out. And it's great fun to watch.

Check out the ad below. Okulski tells the whole story over at Jalopnik.

"Just as I was able to say with total certainty that the first Pepsi Test Drive ad was totally fake," he writes, "I can say with total certainty that this second Pepsi Test Drive ad is unequivocally, one hundred percent, totally, absolutely real."

Gifted Youth director Peter Atencio, who directed last year's spot, returned for this one. Davie Brown Entertainment/The Marketing Arm handled creative concepting and execution. TBWA was not involved this time.

UPDATE: We spoke to the creative director on this spot about everything from the idea to the safety issues to the moment when Okulski almost kicks out the camera in the taxi.


Client: PepsiMAX

Agency: Davie Brown Entertainment/The Marketing Arm

Production Company: Gifted Youth

Director: Peter Atencio

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.