Pennzoil Takes Drivers on a “Joyride”

Vroom! Vroom!

“Nice ride.”

“Thanks,” I say in an uber cool tone. “’96 Toyota Avalon. Don’t make ‘em like they use to.”

That’s what I would say if someone said “nice ride” to me, but they won’t and nor do I care. I’m not a car guy. I can’t tell you the first thing about them; but I do know film and a popular part of movies are car chases. And boy I do like car chases. I’ve seen quite a few in my day and I just recently saw an excellent one, but it wasn’t from a movie. You guessed it. It was an ad.

Joyride Brand Video Series

Joyride is a campaign from the agency JWT (J. Walter Thompson) Atlanta for the oil company Pennzoil, which wanted to advertise its synthetic oil line with particular vehicles. What followed was a series of short films that featured slick fast cars burning rubber on various terrains.

The titles of the numerous shorts varied from Circuit to Last Viper to Tundra and showcased Ferraris, Dodge Vipers, BMW Coupes—the list goes on and on. To be honest, I don’t even know what those words mean. But I loved the ads! According to JWT, they and Pennzoil wanted to “stop interrupting the consumer with typical motor oil marketing and… produce content people would really take interest in. People have a passion for car films.”

Oh, you have no idea…

Some Good:

1. The Filmmaking – Out of all the aspects of film, I am most interested in the editing and sound design of the picture. These shorts had great editing and sound design. Most great action pieces (especially ones with cars) do and these added to the cannon. From the tire screeches, the rumbling of the car engine and clinking and clanking of the gearshifts, these shorts put most car chases seen in recent films to shame. Ozan Biron of Lemonade Films directed these and he and his team knocked them out of the park. I was captivated purely from a filmmaking perspective and in awe the entire two minutes.

2. The Lack of an Oil Change – Most oil commercials feature oil or some moment of an oil change and let’s face it, seeing oil pour is really boring. Instead, these ads focus on what oil was used for: Badass car chases at high speeds on surprisingly empty roads. It got the adrenaline pumping and me going “Vroom! Vroom!” Give the people what they want to see and they’ll take notice. JWT did just that.

Some Bad:

1. Oil – I can criticize the energy and the oil business in general, but I cannot criticize these ads. They are the best automobile related ads I have ever seen.

The Takeaway:

The frustrations of the energy business aside, these ads are the new gold standard of automobile commercials. They are well-made films with precise, sleek and adrenaline-soaked editing, along with gorgeous, clear, deep, high-octane sound design that could rival most films today. Yes, I’m looking at you Fast & Furious franchise!

I’m not a car guy and I dislike most car commercials, especially when they interrupt my football games. But I’m a fan of car chases in films, and dang I’m a fan of these ads. J. Walter Thompson’s approach worked. AIDA. Attention. Interest. Decision. Action. All checked off beautifully. I’m not going to look at my oil change the same ever again. Period.

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

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