If you get your weekly racing fix by being one of the millions of fans tuning into NASCAR TV broadcasts, you have no doubt seen a lot of racing-themed commercials featuring drivers, manufacturers, and teams. Many sponsors feature their drivers and teams in their advertisements for obvious reasons. And while there are some spots that are original and pretty entertaining (the Toyota spots are some of my favs, I loved the Moho-Vator), there are some that are not so.
Now, I understand that these commercials are filmed by Hollywood types that don’t necessarily spend a lot of time at the race track, but can we maybe find a director that has at least seen a pit stop? Watching some overpaid actors fumbling around trying to appear as a real NASCAR crew is comical, but its also sort of embarrassing at the same time.
There are two offending ads that come immediately to mind: Craftsman’s Robot Pit Crew and Vitamin Water’s spot with Carl Edwards and Ralph Maccio. In the Craftsman ad, I don’t even have a problem with the robot guy. Its actually a neat commercial idea (even though it would put a lot of people out of work). But next time you see it, watch the “pit crew” in the background. When was the last time you saw a tire carrier in any of the big three NASCAR series actually roll a tire out to the right side? And how many pumps on the jack does it take to get that car up? What group besides the NASCAR officials wear those helmets? And apparently they don’t need radios, because none of them has a headset. Its no wonder they get smoked on pit road by a robot made of Craftsman tools.
In the Vitamin Water commercial, Carl Edwards’ spiritual adviser Ralph Maccio (from Karate Kid fame) calls him to pit road for a “koi change.” Again, a sort of entertaining concept (it got a small giggle-like laugh out of me), with a very bad pit crew. They exhibit more of the same skills as the guys in the Craftsman ad (maybe they even hired the same crew).
I do need to give some credit though, because there are some directors who get it right. I know this because I myself have been apart of a commercial with an authentic pit crew (like I’d really tell you which one).
Not that this post actually has a purpose, but I guess what I’m trying to say is if you are going to film a commercial, get some guys that at least have some experience hitting lugnuts and slinging tires. Your vision would look so much better and more believable with a solid pitstop. I’m a bit biased, but I think there is nothing better then watching five guys bust off a clean four tire stop. Throw in some company logos and some marketing babble, and you’ve got yourself a masterpiece! I should be a director…