CarMax Offers $20K for Crappy 1996 Honda Whose Fancy Ad Went Viral

Cat is negotiable, coffee mug is not

UPDATE: CarMax tells us that Carrie Hollenbeck accepted its $20,000 offer, and CarMax now officially owns “Greenie” as well as “and a few other items.” Original story below: 

Two weeks ago, a gorgeous ad for a crappy 1996 Honda automobile stole the hearts of a few million YouTube viewers. Now, used auto dealer CarMax is capitalizing on that attention with its own ad offering $20,000 for “Greenie,” the charming Accord with more than 140,000 miles on it.

To be precise, CarMax’s offer isn’t just for the ride itself.

A spokesman for the brand addresses the camera, enumerating the terms of the deal—which also include a number of mundane and delightful objects from the original commercial. CarMax, it turns out, wants the fluffy white cat as well, and is prepared to pay $5,000 for it. For the old drip coffee maker that the current owner, Carrie Hollenbeck, keeps strapped into the passenger seat, CarMax will offer $3,500.


Her patterned Mexico Mug? $2,000. Another $2,000 for the fuzzy hoodie she’s wearing. Leftovers, meanwhile, from the sandwich she’s eating in the final shot, are apparently worth $500—or $400, counting depreciation on any mayonnaise it might’ve included.

That all puts the value of the car itself at $7,000—not a bad for a 21-year-old beater with an initial (much more reasonable) asking price of $499. Here is the original ad for Greenie:


Overall, it’s an entertaining way for CarMax to jump on the lighthearted bandwagon. Filmmaker Max Lanman (Hollenbeck’s fiancé) made the original ad for Greenie on a whim. And while borrowing interest from tangential events may arguably be a dubious strategy for marketers, it makes sense in this case, given the direct relationship to CarMax’s business.

The chain bills itself as the largest used car seller in the U.S., and is inserting itself into the conversation (assuming it didn’t have something to do with seeding Lanman’s video in the first place) with a move that provides real value to the owner, and amusement to everyone else.

Hollenbeck and Lanman have until Wednesday to take or leave the offer, in keeping with CarMax’s seven-day policy (the brand posted its own video to YouTube last week). It’s worth noting that giving up the cat is optional.

Even though bidding on the original eBay listing for the car reached a hard-to-believe $150,000, the site ended up canceling that first auction, and then a second one, according to Lanman’s YouTube page. Meanwhile, a CarMax spokesperson encourages viewers to “stay tuned and see what Max will do,” in a manner that suggests there will in fact be something more to see.


@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.