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James Franco Gets Double Weird For A New Scion Ad

The actor and artist stars in a quirky car campaign.

Car advertising isn’t known for its A-List Hollywood talent. Sure, sometimes you’ll hear a familiar voice here and there, but an actual appearance is typically reserved for those in the autumn of their career (or in character, if you’re Ron Burgundy). But perhaps Matthew McConaughey’s successful turn for Lincoln has sparked a new trend. Because a new ad has not one, but two James Francos.

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Sure, we’re talking about Franco–a guy who made everyone think taking a role on General Hospital was part of a performance art piece. Here, even the voiceover thinks it’s pretty weird the actor and artist would even agree to be there. And according to agency Droga5, that’s the point. The campaign, “Weird, Right?”, is using the unexpected presence of double Franco to highlight the unique look and personality of the Scion vehicles. Two other ads feature a less unexpected appearance by actor Jaleel White with a Wax Museum Urkel, as well as a liberated car dealership tube man.

“The tone of the campaign was really born out of the fact that Scion has always behaved differently to the rest of the car industry,” says Droga5 executive creative director Neil Heymann. “These new cars continue that tradition of going against the grain by including a surprisingly large set of standard features. We wanted the work to reflect just how weirdly practical these Scions are.”

It’s Droga5’s first work for Scion since winning the business in March, and according to the agency, will be the largest, most extensive campaign in the history of the brand.

“We love that James Franco is the kind of guy who is known for making unexpected choices that somehow make sense,” says Heymann. “We love that Jaleel White was so willing to embrace his Urkel-y past. And there are more to come. With Scion, ‘weirdness’ is a badge of honor.”

Perhaps this is the start of a new Franco art piece, in which the actor sees how many different commercials he can star in? If that’s the case, we look forward to the Franco beer ad, the Franco insurance ad, even the Franco toilet paper ad.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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