Among dedicated muscle car fans, the Dodge Viper will live forever. Google vp of engineering Ben Sloss owns one. He even purportedly drives it to work on occasion.
Unfortunately, the company announced earlier this year that the car had effectively “[run] out of good reasons to live” after more than two decades in production, and Dodge is no longer accepting orders—even from tech millionaires.
Longtime Dodge partner Pennzoil, however, has taken steps to ensure the Viper remains immortal with the help of its creative agency of record JWT Atlanta and Rhys Millen, the stunt driver famous for his work on The Fast and the Furious movie franchise. The Viper’s successor, the Dodge Demon, made an unofficial debut at a private New York Auto Show event Tuesday night as Pennzoil launched what may be the very last film to feature the Viper.
The new ad centers on a mysterious “driver for hire” paid to find and return a stolen Viper. But you really just need to focus on the stunts.
“When we found out Dodge was going to discontinue the Viper, we were heartbroken,” said JWT executive creative director Jeremy Jones, who led the project. “It’s the only American car that competes for international track records.”
But Jones told Adweek that Pennzoil and Dodge were more than happy to give the car “the send-off it deserves,” with a Miami shoot that required a bit of creative traffic control from the local police. He also described the scene in which the Viper briefly leaves the ground as a “happy accident.”
“Once we thought it was possible, we planned for it and set up the shot to make it work,” he said.
“We’re trying to reach the same audience as Fast and Furious, but this is rooted in realism,” Jones added, noting that the campaign includes “no CGI except in the cleanup [of footage]. So, we basically drive the piss out of these vehicles in the ultimate demo of the motor oil … capturing that kinetic energy.”
Millen and director Ozan Biron explain a bit more about the work in this making-of film.
In case you couldn’t tell from the cliffhanger finale, JWT’s next spot in the series will focus on the Demon, which Jones called “the world’s most powerful street-legal muscle car.”
Images of the new model have already begun circling among car fanatics along with claims that it might be “good for 1,023 horsepower.”
Let’s see Vin Diesel handle that.
Agency: J. Walter Thompson Atlanta
Campaign: “The Last Viper”
Chief Creative Officer: Vann Graves
Executive Creative Director: Jeremy Jones
Associate Creative Director/Art Director: Lucas Heck
Associate Creative Director/ Writer: Marcos Piccinini
Account Director: Erin McGivney
Producer: Rhett Kearsley
Production Company: Lemonade Films
Director: Ozan Biron
Producer: Trevor Cawood
Executive Producer: Ted Herman
Production Supervisor: Philip Fyfe
DP: Tim Sessler
Editorial: Cycle Media
Editor: Matthew Griffiths
Compositor: Peter DeBay
Additional editorial: Ozan Biron
Visual Effects: The Embassy
VFX supervisor: David Casey
CG Supervisor: Michael Blackbourn
Executive Producer: Winston Helgason
VFX Producer: Danielle Kinsey
VFX Production Manager: Annie-Claude Lapierre
Asset Supervisor: Paul Copeland
Sound Design: Source Sound Inc. LA
Supervising Sound Designer & Mixer: Charles Deenen
Sound Designers: Csaba Wagner
Sound Editing: Braden Parkes
Sound Recordists: John Fasal, Travis Pratert, Charles Deenen
Composer: Colin E. Fisher
Colorist: Billy Gabor, Company 3
“The Last Viper: Behind the Scenes”
Content Production Team: Grain & Glass
Director / DP: Michael Nielsen
Camera Op: Joey Fisher
Editor: Dan Luce