Last year, Pepsi launched a new marketing campaign for its Pepsi Max sugar-free soda. The beverage company tapped Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyle Irving to put on a disguise and visit a park in New Jersey as old "Uncle Drew." Hobbling into a pickup game, old Uncle Drew stuns the park as he schools all the young'uns with his age-defying moves. A tremendous hit, the "Uncle Drew" Pepsi Max campaign received more than 26 million views on YouTube.
Now, Pepsi has just released a new Pepsi Max ad starring NASCAR ace Jeff Gordon in a mustache. Playing the role of "Mike" the timid minivan driver, Jeff Gordon walks up to a black Chevy Camaro. A salesman named Steve walks out to greet him: "Nice to meet you Mike. I saw you gravitating towards the Camaro."
"I don't know if I can handle it," said the disguised Jeff Gordon. "I've never driven anything like this before."
"I think a way to really make you feel comfortable would be to put you behind the wheel." replied Steve.
Perhaps Jeff Gordon should give acting a shot because he played "Mike" really well. Leaving the lot, Gordon taps the gas before quickly stomping on the brakes with a nervous laugh. "Whoa! Little more than I'm used to..."
Suddenly, "Mike" acclimates with the black Camaro the moment they leave the lot for the test drive. Hidden cameras catch the Camaro four-wheel drifting around light posts and hopping over cargo bays like a classic cop movie car chase.
Poor Steve grips the handles and pleas for "Mike" to slow down, even reminding him of the consequences should he wreck the car. Understandably in a fit of rage when the test drive was finally over, Gordon quickly backs away, rips off his mustache and tells the angry car salesman that it was all a prank sponsored by Pepsi Max.
An incredible video that has already received 7 million views, it's a shame that the whole entire ad was fake.
Sharp eyes at Jalopnik noticed a number of telltale clues that challenge the legitimacy of the ad. First, a row of tire marks indicate repeated burnouts, suggesting that the test drive was done many times for many takes.
However, the strongest evidence that the ad is fake lies in the Camaro itself -- it is not a 2009 model. 2009 was the first year of the current generation Camaro, featuring a retro-style dashboard and console intended to draw feelings of nostalgia when a driver hops in. However, the interior shown in the Pepsi ad features a GPS navigation touchscreen, an option that isn't available until the 2013 model.
Jalopnik reached out to Troutman Motors, the dealer lot where the ad was filmed, and asked for Steve the salesman. However, Steve was conveniently unavailable and the Troutman dealership refused to comment on the video at all. Finally, a source told Jalopnik that "Steve" was in fact a paid actor.
What's more, Jalopnik even suspected that Jeff Gordon was not behind the wheel of the Camaro at all! According to Hicory Record, "Racer Brad Noffsinger, who works with the Richard Petty Driving Experience, did the stunt work for the production."
Nice try, Pepsi. At least it was entertaining! Be sure to check out the hilarious Pepsi Max "Test Drive" commercial below: