World’s fastest ride to school
Jake thought the cameras following him around his house in Charlotte last May were for a documentary about students at his high school.
But that ruse ended quickly as he stepped outside and heard the screeching sound of NASCAR driver Austin Dillon burning rubber in the No. 3 Cheerios Protein race car on his street.
Dillon was there to give him a ride to school, for a unique commercial that debuted on TV in June.
The Cheerios Protein team recently produced an extended version of the ad for YouTube, which also features some great behind-the-scenes footage.
Dillon told me he enjoyed being a part of the surprise.
“When I first got there, they drove me up in a van with tinted windows and showed me where they wanted me to slide the car to,” says Dillon. “I slid the car, picked him up and drove him around the block. It was cool to take a kid out in my race car and show him kind of what I do, and what I race in on the weekends and get him fueled up with some Cheerios Protein.”
You can hear more from Dillon in this interview.
Dillon says it was especially fun to drive that fast in a neighborhood, too.
I would guess that every NASCAR driver probably dreams of that. Rest assured, the crew worked with police in the area to shut the streets down.
Jake turned out to be a great choice for the commercial. The crew worked with his school to cast him for it. They needed a NASCAR fan, for sure, but also someone they thought would be comfortable being part of it and able to have fun.
When the time came for the big surprise, knowing they only had one shot at getting Dillon’s big, noisy, entrance right, the crew had cameras everywhere, including inside Dillon’s No. 3 car. (The director of photography for the ad was perfect for it – he had just worked on the movie, “Need for Speed.”)
“It was fantastic when the director yelled ‘Action!’ – Jake walked out and had no idea,” says Matt McQuinn, marketing manager for Big G. “You know how loud these cars are. You could hear it out of sight, a block away, all the way around the corner and you could see Jake looking around.”
The ad was shot a few days before the Coca-Cola 600 that Dillon raced in at nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It felt less like a commercial shoot and more like a big movie set because of the amount of production and the impact we had on the surrounding area,” Matt says. “It’s great that we can get this two minute version of the commercial out. It gives a real sense for the day, everything that went on and what a big deal it is to set up for and capture all the elements we needed.”
“I thought it was a great idea,” says Dillon. “I’ve seen some really cool commercials with NASCAR and I thought it was a cool aspect. You go to a kid that’s a huge NASCAR fan, showing up, not letting him know what’s going on and giving him a ride in a race car. We got to do a donut in the car with him – it was very special for me. I thought it was a great time.”
Editor’s note: The No. 3 Cheerios Protein car raced at Kentucky Speedway in June and I was there to see it in action. Read my behind-the-scenes recap, and see the video, here.