Pepsi's Most Successful Viral Video Ever Is Completely Fake

Last week Pepsi released what is already the 14th most-shared branded video of all time.
The spot shows NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon putting on everyman makeup and facial hair, going to a used car dealership in disguise, and then scaring the heck out of an unsuspecting salesman by taking him on a high-octane, test drive from hell.
The only catch: It’s 100 percent, totally and completely fake. Travis Okulski at Jalopnik breaks down just how fake it is — from the salesman being an actor, to a stunt driver actually driving the car, to the cup holder (strategically placing a Pepsi can front and center) not actually existing in the Camaro.

But here’s the thing: Absolutely no one cares. The video will continue to be one of the most-shared videos of all time. 
“When people are watching the ad it feels real,” Unruly Media founder and COO Sarah Wood told BI. Her company tracks viral video. “It’s creating a powerful emotional reaction, and the shock is incredibly strong, especially since the viewer empathizes with the salesman.”
In fact the controversy might be a good thing. “People have talked a lot about if it’s fake or not,” Wood said, continuing that the Internet thrives on polarizing chatter.
And according to the data that Unruly provided, people haven’t stopped sharing the ad even after finding out it’s a fake (the revelation came the day after the video’s release):
According to Unruly’s viral video chart, the Jeff Gordon Pepsi video is the 14th most-shared branded video of all time. It’s shared more often than Old Spice’s “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” — which has been online for more than two years. (Old Spice may have more views, but sharing — the act of recommending it to others — is often more important for advertisers.)
Pepsi’s has been up for a week and is only growing in shares — and is just below P&G’s Olympics tribute to moms.
This is also significant for Pepsi in the soda wars. While Coke has mostly owned the world of social media with 61 million Facebook fans to Pepsi’s 9 million, times are a-changing when it comes to social videos. Pepsi’s video campaigns have been shared 2.32 million times in the last 12 months, Unruly said. Coca-Cola’s have only been shared 606,000 times.
While Coca-Cola has embraced feel good, happy campaigns — it even had an ad called “The Happiness Machine” — Pepsi is riding the trend of, as Wood describes it, “the punk ad” with a heavy dose of “cruel humor.”
Recent examples of this kind of advertising include a Nivea ad in which people in an airport were convinced that they were wanted by the police so they’d work up a sweat (and need deodorant); and Thinkmodo, who made people think that they were witnessing a murder in an elevator. 
As long as it looks real enough to be convincing, people will share even if it’s fake.
“The reveal at the end of the video is important because that’s the redemption,” Wood said. “The world is right again.”
Even if that world is a total lie.
SEE ALSO: How To Make A Video Go Viral — Based On The Variables In This Algorithm

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