Discover Uses Four-Legged Horsepower to Tout Its National Cash-Back Promotion on Gas

The stunt from TBWA\Chiat\Day LA happened in California, where drivers are paying the highest prices in America

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Talk about a consumer pain point: U.S. gas prices are skyrocketing, with the national average now hovering at $4.86 a gallon, up 5% from just last week, according to AAA.

In California, the situation is far worse for drivers, who are paying $6.34 on average per gallon, with some motorists in rural parts of the state facing prices north of $7 a gallon and a downtown Los Angeles retailer charging an eye-popping $8.05 for a gallon of regular (by comparison, the year-ago average was $4.21, per AAA).

It’s enough to make a person consider an alternative means of transportation, like a bicycle or a motorized scooter or… a horse?

While people have commented on social media about a return to throwback transit of the four-legged variety—in a kidding, not kidding sort of way—Discover and TBWA\Chiat\Day LA have heard the chatter and launched a stunt with an Old West flair.

The brand and its agency want to call attention to a 5% cash back offer on gas, available nationally through the end of June.

To do so, they sent several riders on horseback to gas stations in the suburban Santa Clarita Valley, an L.A. bedroom community filled with commuters feeling the inflationary pinch.

TBWA\Chiat\Day LA, Discover

Cash-back for gas? Giddyup

The horses were wearing specially-created blankets with messages such as, “Looking for a simpler solution to gas price hikes?” and “Cash back on a different kind of horsepower.” The equine stars—named Bolero, Mambo and Diamante—predictably stopped traffic and selfies ensued, according to Kristen Rutherford, the agency’s executive creative director.

Chiat created GIFs, video and still images, debuting the campaign on Reddit, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

A GIF of two people riding trotting horses in a rural landscape
TBWA\Chiat\Day LA, Discover

“We noticed on social the extreme lengths that people were going to in order to save—and one of the craziest was riding horses!” Rutherford told Adweek. “So we worked quickly to create a new kind of mobile billboard to stop people in their tracks.”

The promotion joins several other recent campaigns that have taken advantage of the regal, attention-grabbing qualities of steeds and stallions.

Kentucky-based indie agency Coomer premiered horse yoga, first as a lark and then as a real mind-body-mammal program, for client Hallway Feeds, and Stella Artois created a race track in the metaverse. Visit Iceland, meantime, recruited its famous horses to answer vacationers’ emails for them in a cheeky program to encourage a leave-work-behind experience.