March 6, 2010: The other drivers in Nascar may finally have found a way to end Jimmie Johnson's unprecedented winning streak of four Sprint Cup titles: Have him crushed by his own car.
That scenario - the car crush, not the rival drivers out to end Johnson's streak by nefarious methods - is the crux of a new commercial for Kobalt Tools, which will break March 7 on Fox during the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kobalt is a division of Lowe's, Johnson's lead sponsor.
In the spot, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are sitting in a garage and chatting while seemingly waiting to film a commercial. Suddenly, Johnson's No. 48 car, which has been perched on a lift behind them, crashes down, narrowly missing Johnson and Knaus. The pair keep the mood going by bolting as if they had just escaped severe injuries. The camera filming the action suddenly goes askew, adding a solid degree of realism to the scene, as other members of Johnson's team and crew members who appear to have been "filming" the spot rush in.
"Stay out of there," someone yells off-camera. "Don't anybody move!" Then someone else asks, "Chad. Jimmie. You alright?" "Yeah, I'm cool," Johnson replies.
By now, people are coming back into frame to see what happened. "The Kobalt Tool Box stopped it," someone says, referring to a four-wheel, stainless steel rolling Tool Cabinet that now appears to be undamaged despite having a race car sitting on it. "Get a shot of the box," someone yells, staying with the theme that the event was real. "No way," someone replies. "It's sitting on the box," Knaus says as he kneels beneath the car.
"Get me a screwdriver," Johnson then says to Knaus. "Really?" asks Knaus. "It's sitting on the box," Johnson says as he points to one of the drawers. "Does it still work?" Knaus opens one of the undamaged drawers and hands Johnson a screwdriver. "Thanks," Johnson laughs as they both continue to check out the situation. "Appreciate it. But I don't know what I'm going to do with it."
Johnson kept the subterfuge going on his Facebook page, where he posted to fans, "Look what happened during the Kobalt Tools commercial," alongside a YouTube URL link to the commercial. Lowe's lead agency is BBDO, NY. (See the commercial here.)
The spot is part of the brand's current campaign, "You can't kill a Kobalt," that includes such YouTube-inspired spots as a bear destroying the contents of a pick-up truck but unable to damage the truck's Kobalt tool chest and a construction site "accident" in which the only items left unscathed are Kobalt tools.
Kobalt at its site solicits real stories from visitors regarding the toughness of its products, which it says it will consider for the basis of other such commercials.