I'm not a big fan of commercials, and I'm even less a fan of doing them. Shooting commercials isn't part of my career path, and I take Bill Hicks's slam against Jay Leno's Dorito-schilling to heart. More basically, there are a lot of resources and brainpower dedicated to convincing us we should buy more things. I don't necessarily see my role on this earth as adding to that sales noise.
However, I was presented with an opportunity a few weeks ago that I decided to accept. It was to do a talk show inside a car, a new, hybrid, compact car from Lexus known as the CT 200h. The self-righteous farmers market shopper in me believes not a single new car should be sold in this country. Folks need to get off their asses and walk more, build up the public transit infrastructure and start biking! The realist in me knows that's not going to happen for several cultural, economic and geographic reasons. So if we can at least shift demand to less planet-destroying options, great. If we can actually make the better options not just good but cool, even better.
I accepted the gig and drove around Manhattan and Brooklyn while comedian Whitney Cummings interviewed me about my various activities. The project is called Darkcasting and rather than some invasive ad model taking over another publisher, Lexus did this themselves. I believe the world now refers to this as "branded entertainment." These endeavors can go horribly wrong. After all, what does a luxury car company know about making a good talk show? But Lexus put together a good team, and Whitney was a riot. Here's our segment:
FYI, I wasn't forced or even asked to say flattering things about the car. I'm generally anti-car, especially in NYC, but I'm pro-hybrid and I like what Toyota has done to motivate the industry.