As I write this, a prank video for Pepsi starring Jeff Gordon and a Chevrolet Camaro is approaching 31 million views on Youtube, two weeks after being posted. It doesn’t matter the whole thing was staged with actors, or that Jeff Gordon was replaced by a stunt driver. The scenario alone struck social media gold.
Footage begins with Jeff Gordon arriving at a car dealership disguised as a nervous middle-aged minivan owner. He gravitates to a Chevrolet Camaro with a bright ’09 sticker on the windshield - the first dead giveaway the prank was staged.
Chevrolet didn’t sell a Camaro in 2009. The car in the video appears to be a 2013 model.
Look closely and you’ll notice the car is parked in a stall atop what appear to be skid marks from repeated burnouts, most likely accumulated during multiple takes of what’s about to happen next.
Mike (Gordon) is approached by a car salesman who assures him a test drive in the Camaro will sell him on the car.
“It’s a lot of power, but they design it to be very safe,” the salesman says.
“I don’t know if I can handle it, I’ve never driven anything like this before,” Gordon replies.
After a minimal amount of cajoling, Gordon straps himself into the driver’s seat alongside the salesman. He proceeds to free the beast on a terrifying romp around the local streets, pulling donuts, power-slides and narrowly avoiding disaster at every turn. A Pepsi can with a hidden camera sits in a dash-mounted cup holder to capture the salesman’s mortified reaction and profanity-laced demands for Gordon to stop the car.
Back at the dealership, Gordon tears off his fake goatee and reveals the prank for the “gotcha!” punch-line.
“…You wanna do it again?” The salesman asks.
Was the whole thing staged? Yes.
Does it matter? 30 million views don’t think so.