Jeff Gordon is back to his old prankster tricks again. Last year the NASCAR driver disguised himself and took an unsuspecting car salesman on a wild test drive in a viral ad for Pepsi. The commercial was quickly labeled fake by an observant reporter from the auto publication Jalopnik. To get even, Gordon and Pepsi decided to prank the journalist, Travis Okulski, with another, even crazier driving stunt.
In the new ad, Gordon dons an intense neck tattoo and poses as a taxi driver who’s supposed to be taking Okulski to a race track to test out a new car. Things go awry when the police pull the car over. Gordon, who says he’s a convicted felon, decides he can’t go back to jail and proceeds to veer onto a dirt road to evade the cops. As Gordon blasts through garbage bins and spins into donuts, Okulski begs him to stop and attempts to kick in the glass partition between the front and back seats. Gordon “escapes” the cops by pulling into a Pepsi-themed garage, where he and the production staff reveal the prank.
While the original ad had plenty of people questioning its veracity, Okulski claims in a lengthy post on Jalopnik that the new commercial is 100 percent real.
Like last year’s ad, the spot was directed by Peter Atencio of the production company Gifted Youth. It’s the latest in the very popular trend of ‘prankvertising,’ in which brands play jokes on people for an audience’s amusement. Possessed devil babies and armageddon have also been sprung on unsuspecting people in online ads. “It’s an incredibly shareable type of content,” Chris Bruss, the president of Gifted Youth, told TIME earlier this month. “There’s definitely a wow factor, a WTF factor, a surprise factor.”
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