By on January 8, 2019

Maybe I’m getting old, because I think most popular culture is dreck, or maybe it really is at best pablum and at worse corrosive to the mind and soul. Perhaps it’s because I don’t want to be harangued politically by someone whose profession involves lying convincingly. Whatever the reason, I haven’t watched an award show like the Oscars or Grammys in decades. I wouldn’t have even known the Golden Globes award show was taking place Sunday night if NBC hadn’t been hyping the broadcast during the NFL playoff game I tuned into to get some idea of what people who don’t live in Detroit do on Sunday afternoons in January.

Though I knew about it, as you can guess, I hadn’t planned on watching the Golden Globes. I went out to hear some blues, but the award show was on a couple of the flat screens on the walls at the Blue Goose Inn. That’s how Walmart’s new commercial promoting its grocery pickup service came into my ken. You may ask yourself, why is Schreiber talking about grocery ads at a car site? The answer to that question is that Walmart contracted with a number of movie and television studios to be able to feature a dozen genuinely iconic movie and TV cars and trucks in the ad. Get it? Movie cars in an ad running during a movie award show?

Who wants to see Chevy’s real people when you can watch the Batmobile doing a grocery run? Considering I’ve deliberately done a grocery run in a 204 mph McLaren just to say it could be done, the commercial’s conceit appeals to me. From the reaction in and outside the automotive world, from Autoblog to USA Today, I’m not the only one whose interest was piqued, at least in the movie machines, if not in having canned corn delivered to my trunk at Walmart.

The vehicles in the ad, titled “Famous Cars” and set to the music of Gary Numan’s 1979 hit, Cars, are:

  • The Batmobile from 2016’s Suicide Squad.
  • Ecto-1 from the original Ghostbusters.
  • Knight-Rider’s KITT.
  • The animated Cars‘ Lightning McQueen.
  • Dumb and Dumber’s shag pile Mutt Cutts van.
  • The  Wagon Queen Family Truckster from National Lampoon’s Vacation.
  • Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine.
  • Jurassic Park’s Ford Explorer (complete with some lizards on the paleo diet).
  • A pumpkin delivered to a Walmart parking lot turns into Cinderella’s carriage.
  • Fred Flintstone’s foot-powered phaeton.
  • The VW Beetle version of Bumblebee from the Transformers franchise.
  • A Mr. Fusion-powered DeLorean from the Back To The Future franchise.

As is the fashion these days, there are multiple versions of the ad, with two 30-second versions and one 60-second version for broadcast and a 90-second version for online viewers.

In Walmart’s press release announcing the promotional campaign, Walmart’s Chief Marketing Officer, Barbara Messing, said, “We also worked with a variety of different Hollywood studios to gain access to these vehicles. This helped ensure the ‘famous cars’ looked just like what our customers knew from the films.” How many of the vehicles used in the shooting of the commercial were real (or at least authentic props), how many were replicas, and how many were generated by CGI, isn’t known.

There are also cameo appearances by some of the characters from those shows. I won’t spoil your surprise nor will I identify an “Easter egg” that Walmart also tossed in, though I will give you a hint that it has something to do with a guy sitting outside a KMart store in Garden City, Michigan, in 1962. You can put your guesses in the comments.

[Images: Walmart/YouTube]

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