Max Lanman is a 29-year-old filmmaker based in Los Angeles. So, when his girlfriend had trouble selling her 21-year-old used car, he did the most natural thing anyone would do – made a luxury car-style advertisement, with sweeping aerial shots and professional-level production.
“You, you’re different. You do things your way. That’s what makes you one of a kind,” starts the voice-over, showing a woman driving off in her 1996 Honda Accord. The voice-over continues, and the footage – featuring rubber duckies, coffee and a cat called Papa Puff Pants – eventually gives way to drone footage and stunning shots of the California coastline.
At first glance, it looks and feels nothing short of a luxury car advertisement. It even includes a cheesy pitch, “This, this is not a car. This is you. It’s a lifestyle, a choice. Your choice” before cutting to a tongue-in-cheek tagline for the 141,095 mile-driven, $499 car: “Luxury is a state of mind.”
However, Lanman and his film crew (yes, an entire film crew) just wanted to make a “funny” spoof to sell “Greenie”, his girlfriend’s car. “The inspiration to make the ad came while my girlfriend Carrie and I were driving up the coast on Highway 1, heading to Big Sur to go camping,” Lanman told BBC, “It dawned on me that it would be really funny to film a car commercial for a really crappy car against such a gorgeous backdrop.”
What he didn’t expect, though, was that the advertisement would rake up millions of views, and that the bids on eBay would go up to $150,000 – before someone at eBay erroneously ended the auction, believing the bids were illegitimate, because who bids $150,000 on a 1996 Honda Accord?
But the advertisement certainly worked, for CarMax, a used car retailer, put up their own response video (below) in which they offered to pay $20,000 for the vehicle, also making an offer for the cat, coffee pot, sweatshirt and more.
Now, if only they’d read the fine print of the ad, which clarifies, “Cat and coffee not included” though the rubber duckies certainly are.