By Barry Janoff
March 6, 2014: In 1977, Burt Reynolds hit the big screen as Bo "Bandit" Darville in Smokey and the Bandit.
The story follows the Georgia-based truck driver who, along with his friend Cledus Snow, is offered $80,000 by Big Enos Burdette and his son, Lil Enos, to drive from Georgia to Texas to pick up a truckload of what was then considered "bootleg" beer and return, with the stipulation that they must make the approximately 1,300 mile round trip within 28 hours.
That film was followed by Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) and Smokey and the Bandit III (1983).
Now, Mobil 1 and driver Tony Stewart have joined for a marketing effort that might be dubbed Smokey and the Bandit IV.
The activation is built around a five-episode series (plus an intro trailer), Smoke Is The Bandit, in which Stewart, as Smoke, is presented with a challenge that involves Mobil 1, the official motor oil of Nascar.
In the real world, Stewart drives the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS in the Nascar Sprint Cup Series for Stewart-Haas Racing.
The series will air on Mobil 1's YouTube channel, with episodes breaking now through March 25.
Support includes Mobil 1's Facebook page, where visitors can get "behind-the-scenes access to photos from the Smoke is the Bandit with Mobil 1 set and exclusive information about the video shoot with many Nascar legends and personalities."
“As fans enjoy the return of the Nascar season, we thought it would be fitting to re-create one of the classic car chase movies in a fun way with our Nascar spin, all while putting Smoke behind the wheel of his favorite car,” Artis Brown, Mobil 1 Motorsports manager for ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants, said in a statement.
Episode 1, "The Challenge," finds Smoke approached by Big Enos (played by former driver and current ESPN broadcaster Ricky Craven) and Lil Enos (driver and Fox Sports 1 race analyst Hermie Sadler) with the task of driving to Texarkana to pick up 400 bottles of Mobil 1.
"What do you want with all that oil?" asks Stewart as Smoke.
"My Daddy wants the No. 14 Chevy to benefit from Mobil 1's outstanding protection and performance throughout the Nascar season," replies Lil Enos.
"We're going to need a car . . . a fast one," says Smoke. Then, speaking to his friend The Snowman (Darrell Waltrip) on his CB radio, he exclaims, "We got us a new job. Let's go get some Mobil 1."
The upcoming schedule includes Episode 2, “The Pickup” (March 11); Episode 3, “The Interview” (March 13); Episode 4, “The Sheriff” (March 18); Episode 5, “The Big Finish” (March 20).
Mobil 1 said that on March 25 it would air the complete series as a single-play, long-form feature that includes all six videos in succession, with additional commentary from Stewart and the other series’ stars.
Other members of the cast include Jeff Hammond (Buford T. Justice) and Nicole Briscoe (Frog).
“Smokey and the Bandit is still my all-time favorite movie,” said Stewart, whose on-screen appearances include Herbie Fully Loaded (2005) with Lindsay Lohan. “Bringing this legendary movie back to the screen – with the Bandit’s black Trans Am and all – has been an absolute blast and I hope the fans have just as much fun watching the videos.”
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