Kevin Costner, meet Steve McQueen

Thanks to Tivo I hardly watch commercials any more, but I see them during football games. Yesterday I sat through one, completely transfixed. Allow me to explain.

The setup is a farmer who builds a race course in his cornfield (“if you build it…”), and he parks his brand new Ford Mustang on the Start/Finish line. Out of the corn steps Steve McQueen, probably the best known Ford driver I can think of, both for Bullitt (driving a Mustang) and in Le Mans, (driving a Ford GT40, now in release as a reproduction).

The farmer recognizes Steve, flips him the keys, and the legend starts to lap the course. Many shots of McQueen in the car, seen in the rear-view mirror, etc, an astonishing technological tour-de-force. I’ll be honest, it made me want to go buy a Mustang, and I’ve never owned a Ford in my life.

I am somewhat uncomfortable with icons of the past being raised from the dead to sell me things, though I’ll admit it’s situational. I really didn’t like it when John Wayne was resurrected to sell beer, but I’m more comfortable with McQueens’ ghost pushing cars, and this was one very entertaining car ad.

There’s some group of ad execs right now trying to get the estates of Marilyn Monroe to let her sell Ambien, Bogie to push Camels, Jack Benny and the Dollar Store, etc.

For how they did the commercial, here’s some links.

Update: McQueen actually drove a Porche 917 in LeMans, not a Ford GT40. GruntDoc regrets the error, and thanks reader Roger for the correction.


  1. Aerospace Genius says:

    Haven’t seen the commercial, but it sounds like a great idea. I’ve been drooling over the new Mustang styling enough to consider buying a new car for the first time ever.

    In general, I don’t like commercializing the dead, but it can be done tasefully *IF* the product is strongly associated with the person. For example, James Dean would be OK in a Boxster commercial, but not one for a Cayenne.

  2. CW2 John F. Longo says:


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  3. I just saw that commercial yesterday and then caught an informative piece on how they made it later on. It is a great commercial :-)

    My peeve is when they use great classic songs in commercials. It’s a sacrilege!