Jon Shore and Jordan Brady didn’t invent the car dealer pitchman, but they have certainly given the genre a tune-up, in their new campaign for “Fast, Fair and Friendly” Denver-based Stevinson Automotive. Featuring Kent Stevinson, President of Stevinson Automotive, who is at ease in front of the camera and down for anything, the 14-spot campaign has a fun, local feel with national polish. The project marks a reunion for Stevinson, filmmaker Brady and creative director Shore, who previously collaborated on Stevinson Automotive spots in 2005 and again in 2016. Produced by Superlounge, the new campaign exploits Stevinson’s on-camera playfulness, and runs the humor gamut, from social media gags (“Snap Kent”) to local landmark wordplay (“All Over Town”). To accommodate today’s visual landscape, the production shot 16:9 for traditional TV, 4:3 for the vintage “Pan Flute Kent,” and skyscraper mode for “Snap Kent.”
“It’s always a pleasure to work with Jon and Jordan,” said Stevinson. “They may take me out of my comfort zone now and then, but they always understand who we are as a brand and the importance of our relationship with our customers.”
Family-owned, Stevinson Automotive has been a Colorado fixture since 1962, and Kent has been a local icon since the mid-1990s, when he first began appearing in the ads. “The blend of comedy and sincerity comes from Kent,” said Shore, who devised the campaign via Jon Shore Creative, the dealer’s creative consultant. “Our campaigns originate with the customer experience, the personal connection they have with this dealership. If you like the guy in the commercials, you’re going to enjoy the experience you have at Stevinson Automotive.”
Shore brought Brady on board to direct, as well as contribute to the creative process. “I’ve worked with Jordan for many, many years,” he said. “There’s a trust and a shorthand, and we know how to get the best work from one another. It’s great when the ideas come from everyone in the group and there’s such a level of trust among the principals. It allows us to do things we couldn’t otherwise accomplish.”
The campaign - which includes 4 x :15s, 7 x :30s, a bunch of :06s, and 1 x :08 - involves scenarios that might be devised for a national brand, while embracing Stevinson Automotive’s hometown appeal. On the more broad, “national” end of the comedy spectrum, “Pocket Kent” imagines a compact Stevinson who is always available and happy to help. The :30 was based on the Stevinson motto of “Fast, Fair & Friendly.” “Stevinson is known for making car buying easy, everyone is so helpful,” Brady recalled, “so we figured, what if you carried Kent around with you in your pocket? Whenever you needed something, he’d be there.”
“Proudly Coloradan” best describes the humor of the :30 “Salesbot,” which depicts a fictional out-of-state auto chain for which robots are programmed to deliver local flavor, with disappointing results. Shorter ads in the campaign deliver direct pledges with just a touch of fun, such as “Different Tune,” contrasting the aggressive vibe of other dealerships with the relaxed atmosphere and service at Stevinson.
“Jon somehow convinces Kent to really go for the comedy. but remember, not only is he the client, he's also an adept comedy performer in every spot,” said Brady. “I've worked with Keegan Michael Key, Will Ferrell, and Kathryn Hahn, and like those celebs, Kent Stevinson delivers absurd comedy by playing it straight.” There was something of a battle to get Stevinson in a puffy shirt for a “Pan Flute Kent” spot, but, as Brady explained, “You fight for the things you believe in, even if it means sacrificing everything.”