In an effort to finally eliminate the crippling debt I’ve acquired from buying and maintaining a fleet of hopeless cars, I have done a few endorsements here and there. Before, these were all filmed in the similar, poor-quality fashion of my normal YouTube videos, but this time, I was approached by a major auto parts chain that wanted to film a full-blown professional commercial. The shoot took 2 days, and a dozen people watched (and filmed) me change my own oil. It was weird…
This all started with an email, and initially, I thought it was a normal request for a promotion within my Youtube channel. Now that I’m a C-List YouTuber (or perhaps a D+) I get emails almost daily requesting rates for promotional deals ranging from interesting products like watches and car care products to things I would probably never do, like video game apps and moisturizing wipes. When the email conversation unfolded with this ad agency, I discovered it was for NAPA auto parts, a major national retail chain — and they wanted to fly from New York City to Kansas to film an actual commercial with me.
The goal was to integrate their auto parts into fixing one of my cars, so they asked for a list of all my cars and what could be repaired. After writing them a small novel detailing my hoopties and their issues, they chose my 2003 Mercury Marauder as the subject. At first I was surprised — but when I thought about it, most auto parts stores would stock nearly everything for this car, since it shares most components with other panther-platform cars, like the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis, as well as the drivetrain from a Mustang.
They wanted to film me buying their parts in one of their flagship stores, about 2 hours away from me — which was a little concerning, since I had never taken my recently purchased Marauder out of town. If I didn’t make it, a lot of people would have flown out for nothing. Mercifully, the Marauder arrived without any issues, and we spent the day filming a bazillion takes all around the store. During the breaks in filming, a professional photographer would take stills of me doing various things for social media posts as well.
As I’ve discovered with my reality TV show project, filming anything at a professional level is a very time-consuming process — which is why we spent a full day in the store, despite the final product being less than half of the one-minute commercial. They also stopped in an industrial area to film beauty shots of the Marauder, which I found amusing — since it’s probably been over a decade since a Marauder was professionally shot for anything. The following day, we filmed in Wichita, where they rented a local dirt track to do celebratory donuts in the infield. I managed to talk them into letting me go around the entire track, and used the opportunity to learn how to drift my giant rear-wheel-drive sedan around the entire oval. There was a lot of spinning before I got the hang of it — but all the stress on the car broke the rear-axle seal, spewing grease all over the polished alloy wheel. Thankfully, that didn’t leave me stranded, so we could finish the shoot.
Everything ended in my storage building, where we filmed replacing a window regulator as well as an oil change. I had done jobs like this countless times before, but not recently, and certainly not with a dozen people watching me. In addition to the 4 people who flew out from New York, they hired local film crew as well — so there certainly was more pressure than a normal wrenching session. Of course, I spilled oil everywhere — and there were a few times when the director yelled "CUT" after some expletives flew out of my mouth while struggling with the window regulator and the stuck oil filter.
Once I mercifully finished that, we did a few more driving shots before wrapping the shoot. I’ll eventually post it with one of my videos sometime in July — but you might be seeing it around in other places. If it ends up playing randomly on YouTube before a Doug DeMuro video, my life will be complete.