A Jeep Wrangler Gets a Crazy Desert Stunt Drive in Pennzoil’s Latest Engine Test

Rhys Millen is back at the wheel

Pennzoil—if it's good enough to keep an engine cool while tearing through the desert in a souped-up Jeep Wrangler, it's probably good enough for commuting to work in your late-model sedan.

The motor oil company is out with a new ad in its "Joyride" series from J. Walter Thompson Atlanta and Lemonade Films. A masked man in military garb airlifts into a desolate landscape in Baja California. He pulls open a trap door, hidden underneath the sand, to a secret testing facility. He climbs into a yellow SUV and takes off on a rampage through the dunes and over rock piles in the beating sun. The engine screams, and the speedometer quickly maxes out. Still, the car doesn't overheat.

The three-minute commercial follows a similarly high-octane spot from March featuring a Ferrari, Pennzoil's first Joyride ad, though not its first tire-screeching video with drifting pro and Hollywood stuntman Rhys Millen, who's also driving in the Baja ad.

Vancouver-based Lemonade is also the outfit behind such auto marketing as BMW's buzzy aircraft carrier drifting ad from 2014, and the 2015 Pennzoil ad that saw Millen, in a Dodge Challenger Hellcat, spinning circles on an giant airborne platform carried by two helicopters (fun visual stunts, even if CGI surely played a large role in both).

For anyone who likes watching gorgeous videos of impressive driving feats, and doesn't mind the clichéd revving noises, the new ad is likely to be a treat. A behind-the-scenes video explains why the demonstration is relevant, precisely because the environmental conditions—and driving style—are so much more strenuous on the car's mechanics, compared to more average uses.

For anyone who can't be bothered, Pennzoil's execs still hope you consider it the next time you're due for an oil change—though Quaker State, also owned by Shell, would probably be OK with them, too.


Client: Pennzoil

"Joyride" Baja Credits List

Agency: J. Walter Thompson Atlanta

Executive Creative Director: Jeremy Jones

Group Creative Director: Dustin Tamilio

Associate Creative Directors: Derek Kirkman, Troy Leyenaar, Daniel Prado

Account Director: Erin McGivney

Producer: Daryll Merchant

Production Company: Lemonade Films

Director: Ozan Biron

Producer: Trevor Cawood

Executive Producer: Ted Herman

Production Supervisor: Philip Fyfe

DP: Macgregor

Editorial: Cycle Media

Editor: Matthew Griffiths

Visual Effects: The Embassy

VFX Supervisor: David Casey

Sound by Source Sound Inc. L.A

Sound Supervisor & Mixer: Charles Deenen

Sound Recordists: John Fasal, Travis Pratert, Charles Deenen

Sound Designer: Csaba Wagner

Sound Editor: Braden Parkes

Original Music: Generdyn Music

Composer: Joshua Crispin

Colorist: Dave Hussey, Company 3

Service Company: Tonic Films (Mexico City)

Exec Producer: Susie Neill

Producer: Victor Albarran

@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.