The latest viral video sensation contains all of the trendiest new car commercial shots combined with an inspiring voiceover, but it’s not for one of the 2018 new releases. Instead, it touts the benefits of one high mileage, well-loved 1996 Honda Accord. Part of the appeal of this mock commercial appears to be the tongue-in-cheek approach that makes it clear the creator understands the psychology behind ads, including how to use facts and emotions to his advantage.
How Did the Video Get Created?
Filmmaker Max Lanman, who makes commercials for a living, knew exactly what to do when his girlfriend, Carrie Hollenbeck, decided it was time to sell her 1996 Honda Accord. A simple ad on eBay might have netted Hollenbeck approximately $500, but Lanman used his skills to take her auction to the next level. The resulting spoof commercial balances between being humorous and heartwarming, making it no surprise that it became a viral success. Doing something so unusual also apparently comes with other perks as Hollenbeck and Lanman have since gotten engaged.
The Bidding War
The Redbook value of Hollenbeck’s 1996 Honda Accord is approximately $469, but she took a stab at making a more lucrative deal by listing the car for $499. This would probably have maxed out the bidding process before it even began if it wasn’t for Lanman’s creativity.
The viral video shows actress Anne Marie Avey enjoying the 1996 Honda Accord with her cat, Colonel Meow. The two take a drive, during which Avey pours herself a cup of coffee from her coffee maker and uses a tape deck converter to listen to her early generation iPod. This is mixed with aerial shots that impressively mimic every modern car commercial. Hollenbeck was credited with doing the stunt driving.
Before eBay erroneously took the first auction down, Hollenbeck’s 1996 Honda Accord, nicknamed Greenie, was poised to sell for more than $150,000. The auction page has since been restored, and the bidding has now passed $5,000. The momentum of the original bidding fervor caused by the viral video may not be restorable, but it’s clear that Hollenbeck will still make more than 10 times the car’s value.
Why is the Video Resonating with So Many People?
A viral video that spoofs car commercials is certainly going to seem funny to most people but how did the bidding reach $150,000 for the 1996 Honda Accord? Aside from the slick production values, people may be responding to catchphrases such as “luxury is a state of mind” and “you do things your way; that’s what makes you one of a kind.”
When you add in the social proof effect, which causes people to flock to things they perceive as popular, the bids for a viral auction can reach extremely disproportionate heights. For example, the so-called Virgin Mary toast that sold for $28,000. Or, in this case, a 1996 Honda Accord with more than 141,000 miles on the odometer that’s probably not going to end up being worth anywhere near what the winning bidder pays.