What Really Goes On Behind the Scenes In Those "Real People" Car Commercials?
An AV Club reader who was in a commercial gives us some details
It should come as no surprise that those "real people" car commercials that you see on TV everywhere these days are people that are "influenced" into saying nice things about a certain car brand, but it might not be in as blatant a way as the cynics want you to think.
An A.V. Club reader was one of the folks featured in a Chevy commercial, and according to his behind the scenes account of his day, at no point did Chevy tell the people what to say or suggest that they say nice things about Chevy. No, these folks did that all on their own, whether they actually felt that way about Chevy or not.
The gentleman in question (who remains anonymous) said that it was pretty interesting how these folks featured in the ad; the "regular people," were in fact actual regular people that were just picked off the street. After answering some questions about participating in market research, the participants were then told to wait for an email, which directed them to dress business casual and show up at the LA Convention Center.
Throughout his day filming the ad, the gentleman in question legimately seemed surprised at the car reveals and entering into the huge halls and such. Even more interesting was his account on how everyone acted when answering questions asked by the Chevy rep:
"None of these people were actors, because I asked them what they all did for a living. They suddenly became these perfect spokespeople when this guy started asking questions, like, “What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you think about Chevy?” Literally, the guy next to me was like, “Freedom.” [Laughs.] He was suddenly so patriotic. He was like, “American-made cars. Quality.” All of these people were spewing out these buzzwords."
I think it would be a legitimately interesting psychological study into what makes people act a certain way when they know they're being scrutinized by cameras and recording devices. It seemed all these people were influenced to say great things about Chevy simply because they felt they should. Perhaps they didn't want to bad mouth a company that had put so much effort into paying them and setting up a cool looking stage for all these cars?