Ad Nauseam: Auto Zone, or Twilight Zone?
This Auto Zone ad is one for the ages. The dark ages.
A young guy, who looks all of 17, is riding his bike down a rural dirt road when he comes upon an abandoned mid-1970s Ford Torino. A sign on the window reads, "if you can fix her you can have her." The kid smiles, the can-do soft guitar rock kicks in, and off he rides to Auto Zone. Again and again.
"It basically took me the whole summer," the voice over says, "and I don’t know how many times I needed to go to Auto Zone. But, at least now when I go, it’s not on my bike."
The final scene shows the same road, but this time the clunker is barreling down it, kicking up a cloud of dust and, in all probability, smoke from the exhaust. (Since we’re to assume the kid did all the repairs by the roadside, he could not have removed the engine block to replace the seals and gaskets, and there’s no way that car isn’t burning oil. Hence: tailpipe smoke.)
What we don’t see is what happens next. The kid starts making a lot more trips to Auto Zone, because since he got a "free" car he had to take on a job just to pay for repairs and gas (the Torino, in its day, averaged about 10 miles to the gallon). And that smoke? Well, the damn thing didn’t pass the state emissions test, so instead of sinking $1,500 into an engine rebuild and a new exhaust system — thereby exceeding the car’s value by approximately $1,500 — the kid left the Torino where he found it. He still sees it every day, as he rides his bike to and from work. Every now and then he spits on it.