Behind the Scenes: Making the 2014 DriveTime Commercials

2017 DriveTime commercials are here! Follow Tina and Tara on more wacky adventures.

This post is a personal reflection of my experience during the creation of our DriveTime TV commercials, created in September 2013.  

We first stepped on scene at the DriveTime commercial shoot in Los Angeles on a windy Thursday morning; already near exhaustion from juggling early morning flight delays and scrounging for our next cup of coffee.

If you’ve never been behind the scenes of a TV commercial shoot before, think of it as walking into a mini Universal Studios. Nearly 50 people were buzzing around a parking lot filled with tractor trailers and cool props, all speed walking with a heightened sense of purpose. It was organized chaos, fueled by Red Bull and the most mouth watering catered food and snacks that somehow was created by a makeshift George Foreman grill and lots of talent by an incognito chef. I set a personal record for daily Swedish meatball consumption. I regret nothing.

When we arrived (myself plus a few fine members of DriveTime’s marketing team), the production crew had already been shooting for a couple days. Today they were filming the in-van scenes that you see in each of our commercials. It was hard to grasp how many people and how much time it took to create three, 30 second commercials. While the versions you see on YouTube and TV are typically the best take of any particular scene, what you don’t see is that one 10-second clip was done over and over and over again until someone decided that they “got it” or one of the actors started to get car sick.

The crazy thing is, this was just the tip of the iceberg. The production company and marketing agency tasked with the creative of the commercials have been working for months getting everything ready just for the 30 hours or so of actual camera time this week. After the director calls this “a wrap,” they’ll go back to work in post-production for weeks; editing, correcting and optimizing to ensure there’s no “flimflam.”

Most people see commercials for what they are, an advertisement. After seeing one being created behind the scenes, I can’t help but watch commercials now and wonder how a certain scene was created. On occasion, I’ll yelp out in excitement that I know how that particular effect was accomplished or recite my acute knowledge about camera booms and car rigs. It’s like getting a glimpse of movie magic, but only enough to keep you still wondering.

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1/28/14 update: We’ve received a lot of requests asking who the lovely ladies in our commercials are! They are passenger, Nicole Randall Johnson and driver, Katie Crown, pretty awesome duo, huh?

van on trailer

In many of the scenes, the van actually isn’t driving. It’s being hauled around on this trailer that is being pulled by an old pickup truck.

van-videos

We tailed the camera crew and DriveTime Credit Rescue Vehicle in our own van, watching the action in real time.

camera-boom

Last hour of the shoot, this is where we filmed the ending of each of our commercials, where the van comes sliding into the dealership. No CGI here, it’s the real deal.

drivetime-skidmarks

It took a few tries to get the perfect slide, but eventually the precision driver and Credit Rescue Vehicle got it done

Which commercial is your favorite?

Check out our 2016 DriveTime commercials to watch out latest commercials and let us know what you think in the comments!

  79 Comments

  1. Howard Allen   •  

    What kind of van was used?

    • DriveTime   •  

      It’s a 1988 Mitsubishi Delica L300. The van is powered by Mitsubishi’s 4G64 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and good looks.

      • Ardell Bloom   •  

        I had one. Neat van.

  2. Melissa Jones Callis   •  

    I love “Curbed By Credit”! “Do you like the musical arts?” I love it when the ladies sing opera to their kidnapped customer!

    • valerie gomez   •  

      melissa jones callis , you kinda look like “katie crown”…really do !!.

  3. alex   •  

    Where is the commercial when the two girls start talking to their kidnapped customer anf no one ends up driving the van? I like that episode

  4. Melody   •  

    Can I buy an ’88 Mitsubishi Delica L300 at one of your Drive Time locations? I love the look of that van!

    • DriveTime   •  

      Sorry, they have all gone back to the future with their counterparts, the DeLorean.

      • Chris   •  

        Oh, contrare, you can buy a ‘brand new’ DeLorean. They had so many parts left over, somebody bought them & you can still order one. They are using a different engine selection & a few other improvements but, they are available.

  5. darryal ferguson   •  

    What are the ladies names?

    • DriveTime   •  

      They are Nicole Randall Johnson (passenger) and Katie Crown (driver). Who’s your favorite?

      • STEPHANIE TESTON   •  

        Both of them! They are so funny! I love the commercials keep them coming!

      • Flash   •  

        Katie is beautiful

  6. Harold VanDeusen   •  

    Some commercials leave people wishing they could shut the TV off fast! I think that the Drive Time commercials are cute and fun to watch. My personal favorite is the (I Hate Flim Flamers) one. Love the driver. She’s a cutie pie.

  7. Dannie Oatis   •  

    I thought Nicole Randall Johnson was Gina Torres. Lol they look alike

    • Christine   •  

      they do look alike, thought the same thing

  8. Karen   •  

    I love those two! They are so cute and funny!

  9. Tony Muckleroy   •  

    “Like a banana peel on a cut that won’t heal!” dumb funny stuff, it’s the best.

    • Kitty R   •  

      I was glad to finally find your comment so that I would know what that lady was saying about the banana peel on that commercial I listened to so many times. I thought she was saying” like a banana peel on a golf ball hill “, the way she said it wasn’t clear.

      • DriveTime   •  

        Hey, at least you were close!

      • valleau   •  

        Haha. I thought she was saying ‘on a cotton ball heel”! I wad so glad to find it on here too!

  10. MYRON JACKSON   •  

    I LOVE THE ACTING AND THE LADIES ARE CUTE TOO.

  11. Jesse Smith   •  

    I love your van! Can I make you a paper model promo of it?

  12. C. Franklin   •  

    Nicole Randall Johnson looks a lot like Gina Torres. The best! I get a good chuckle from those commercials. Great job!

  13. Greg   •  

    A series of commercials that are not annoying! These are entertaining and funny. Keep it up!

    • DriveTime   •  

      Thanks Greg, we’re actually on set this week creating 3 new ones, stay tuned!

  14. David Blaskiewicz   •  

    I am the proud owner of a 1990 Mitsubishi Van/Wagon, which is what I believe in actuality is in your commercial. Maybe a different year but a Van/Wagon none the less as that what was sold in the US. I have owned mine since 1990. I am looking for another Van/Wagon and was surprised to see yours on the very funny commercials you did. Who could I contact to find where that vehicle has gone to?

    • DriveTime   •     Author

      Hey David, that’s awesome! That van was actually on loan from a production company in Los Angeles. We are actually on the hunt to find a few more for ourselves, so if you happen to come across any please let us know!

  15. Shirley   •  

    I like all your commercials but my favorite is episode VII curbed by credit. I think the kidnapped customer is very handsome, who is he? Is he a regular actor?

    • DriveTime   •     Author

      Thanks Shirley, glad you like them! He’s an actor based out of LA, I can’t remember his name but he’s been in a lot of other spots since ours. Stay tuned for our new commercials hitting the airwaves in mid-October!

  16. Summer   •  

    I LOOOOOOOVE these hilarious genius commercials. Don’t even remotely consider replacing those two gals. You could not improve. And besides, we wouldn’t watch them anymore. Everything comes to a halt in my house when we hear one coming on. What a gold mine. The brains behind this has to be a member of Mensa or one incredibly funny individual. Keep them coming. They have to be an amazing monetary boost and a tremendous breath of fresh air for we viewers. The “banana peel on a suska mo heel” nearly drove me up the wall. So glad to find that it is “a cut that won’t heel.” Genius, just genius. Thanx

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Summer – we’re so glad you enjoy them! We had a blast making them, and definitely love our two leading ladies. That banana peel line gets us EVERY time! Thank you for the kind words, and we’re glad that we can be a part of your day!

      • Christine   •  

        they are great, maybe tour a little come to Springfield Tn

  17. Catherine   •  

    “Theme song!”

    lol

  18. karen   •  

    Okay, what are the words to episode 3? “All the ladies in the back, we gonna do this right now….” But THEN what???

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Karen – here are the lyrics:
      Are you ready in the back
      We gonna do this right now!
      A lot on a lot all ready to be bought
      Even if you’ve got bad cred-dot!

  19. Hartley Savitz   •  

    Have been trying to search for the commercial with the line “Like a Banan Peel on a cut that won’t heal” to show my husband and cannot find it -where can I find it?

  20. Louis Dyer   •  

    While I really like the commercials, after watching them hundreds of times, I still had only a vague idea of what DriveTime was, did, or sold. I finally had to look it up. At first, I thought they were like Carmax and not only sold used cars but also supplied the loan. This might be the case, but from the commercial, it appears they are a car loan broker only. You might want to make it clearer in the commercials exactly what it is DriveTime does as a company.

    • DriveTime   •  

      Thanks for your feedback, Louis! Sorry about the confusion. We’ll definitely take your suggestions into account for next year’s commercials.

  21. Jay   •  

    I think my favorite to date is “I say drive and you say time.” I wonder how long it took the actress to say “drive” instead of “time?” Makes me chuckle every 5ime.

  22. Stan   •  

    I suppose that the first time I saw a Drive Time commercial, I probably thought along the lines of “What a stupid, low-budget commercial…but pretty funny!” However the more I saw them, the more I appreciate the GENIUS of all involved! Outstanding acting, writing, directing! (Take it in any order that you may prefer.)

  23. Kay   •  

    Love these commercials. The ladies and the commercials are hilarious. The chemistry between the two ladies is the best. Keep up the good work.

  24. Mark Elmo Ellis   •  

    I absolutely love these commercials and the lovely talented ladies in them! I keep telling my wife they should make a TV show outta this. It’s amazing how these commercials are written and acted far better than the TV shows they sponsor.

    My favorite episode is The Hoodwinker”. The plot and subplot as well as the complex character development made this a real nail biter. Katy Crown hanging upside down was pretty cool too! Ha ha!

    Waiting for the sequel with baited breath!

    God Bless!

    ELMO

  25. Nikita   •  

    What is the girl saying in drive time rap commercial. The lyrics to the rap are tricky not sure what she is saying. My husband and I are dying to know. Thanks

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Nikita – The lyrics are:

      Are you ready in the back
      We gonna do this right now!
      A lot on a lot all ready to be bought
      Even if you’ve got bad cred-dot!

  26. Eric IDE   •  

    “On the lot, all ready to be bought”What on earth is the rest of that rhyme? (\__/)
    (=’.’=)

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Eric – The lyrics are:

      Are you ready in the back
      We gonna do this right now!
      A lot on a lot all ready to be bought
      Even if you’ve got bad cred-dot!

  27. Kirby Johnson   •  

    In a commercial here in Tampa Florida (Jan 2016) at the very beginning the two girls appear in what looks like a cardboard van rather than the real one. It is white with black lines for the door etc. with “NORMAL VAN” in large block letters on the side. What’s up with that?

  28. Klorissa   •  

    HUH-larious!!!!!!!! I LOVE ALL OF THEM!!! I stop whatever I’m doing when I hear one come on and rush to the TV!!! My stomach hurts from laughing so hard! Every time! It’s SOOOO hard to pick a favorite but my top 2 are: “When I say drive, you say time”! AND “You can’t afford not to get a car…it’s like you live in here”! I want to meet these ladies and hang out with them lol! Any chance if that?!!! No, seriously… 😀

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Klorissa – We’re so happy you love Tina and Tara just as much as we do! 🙂

  29. Shawn   •  

    I love all of them!! They keep me laughing but my fave is the high school flashback commercial.

    • DriveTime   •  

      Thank you, Shawn! That’s one of our favorites too and I’m so happy to hear you love Tina and Tara just as much as we do! – Tiffany | DriveTime Community Manager

  30. Aimee Jacobs   •  

    These commercials are HILARIOUS!!!

  31. Aimee Jacobs   •  

    You couldn’t have picked a better commediane 🙂

  32. Ana Peters   •  

    Thanks for pulling back the curtain for a very interesting and informative, “Behind the scenes” view. All of the DriveTime commercials are truly fascinating works of art. Each commercial I’ve seen delivers in such a natural and sincere way that I was honestly left wondering, “Is it possible that this is a real customer ambush unfolding before my eyes?” Also, wanting to believe that these commercials were real, so bad that I had to look up the facts online. Hence, as to how and why I ended up here, reading this ever so interesting story. The one thing I find to be the most intriguing is that you filmed so much, for so long, just to obtain a less than 30 second piece, which was so seamlessly and artistically put together that it really feels like an authentic realistic and candid moment in real life…

  33. Julie Stevens   •  

    I love the one where the guy says he got turned down and then the ladies break into the Turned Down For What song. Those facial expressions…Hilarious!! Love those girls!

  34. Christine   •  

    i love the commercials, please do more

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Christine – Thank you so much for the commercial love! I’m happy to hear you’re a fan of our rescue duo, Tina and Tara! 🙂

  35. charles washington   •  

    I would love to see them in their own show.

  36. Carrie Smith   •  

    Great commercials! Who’s your ad agency or marketing agency — who’s writing this stuff? Terrific!

  37. Billie Stinson   •  

    Hi.. I love love the commercials. They are spot on.. but which is which.. I know the real names are Nicole and Katie.. I read earlier that their screen names are Tara and Tina.. but which us which… The newest one I just seen was them rapping.. Great!!!!!! Thanks

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Billie – We’re so happy to hear you love our commercials! Tina is in shorts and a short sleeve shirt, while Tara likes to sport her pants and long sleeve shirt. 🙂

  38. Brittany Goodwin   •  

    Love these commercials! What kind of shirts are they wearing? Me and my boss want to be them for Halloween.

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Brittany – Thanks for the commercial love! Tina wears green shorts and a green, short sleeve, button-down t-shirt. Tara is wearing green pants and a green, long sleeve, button-down t-shirt. You can see their full outfits here. We would love to see you and your boss dressed as our rescue duo! 🙂 You can tag us on Facebook at DriveTime Car Sales or on Twitter: @DriveTime! – Tiffany | DriveTime Community Manager

  39. Cheryl   •  

    Wow . They are so good . I wonder what will be next. Maybe something about Thanksgiving or Christmas . They are a perfect pair.

  40. Teddy   •  

    I absolutely love the DriveTime commercials. They crack me up EVERY time it comes on the TV.

  41. B   •  

    What’s the lyrics on the rap one? We listen and listen??? LOL

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hello B – You can find the lyrics below!

      Tina: Do you need perfect credit?
      Song: NOPE.
      Tara: Wanna buy a car but can’t get it?
      Song: YUP.
      Tina: Ever been to DriveTime?
      Song: NOPE.
      Tara: Get a real down payment online.
      Song: YUP.
      Tina: Rejection?
      Song: NOPE.
      Tara: Huge selection?
      Song: YUP.
      Tina: In the mood to get treated rude?
      Song: NOPE.
      Tara: Just two minutes gets you approved.
      Song: YUP.
      Tara: Wasn’t that the exit?
      Tina: Nope.
      Tina: We’re getting good at this!
      Song: NOPE.

      • Charlotte Dobbins   •  

        I finally know what Tina says on the NOPE yup comercial.That was driving me crazy.Thanks yall.Great commercials

  42. Jenn   •  

    I love the Yep, Nope rap commercial!! Funny and super catchy! But I can’t understand some of the lyrics. Could you post them?

  43. Darryl   •  

    Hello, IWas wondering if you ever use non-actors as the buyers? If so how would one audition for this part? I would love to be a part of a commercial, even if it someone in the background with no lines. Just to see all the inner workings.
    Also, if you run out of ideas for the commercials, ask the people on here about past experiences. I bet you could make some funny spots off of some of them.
    Thanks and keep up the fun work.

  44. Nicole Ellis   •  

    I absolutely love each and every one of the drivetime commercials that have come out the 2017 commercial is my ring tone for when my wife calls as she herself loves the drivetime commercials as much as me i look forward to the next commercial that comes out please put one out soon thanks love you guys and what you do!!!

    Sincerely Nicole Ellis😍

  45. Donald Nelson   •  

    I absolutely love these beautiful ladies and commercials! Yup Nope and Turn Down For Credit are my favorites! Very funny! Keep it coming!

  46. Lasha Hammett   •  

    Love these !!!!!!

  47. valerie   •  

    love them but which one is one where I think driver is in back sounds like funky music white bot playing and she says”yeah”?

  48. Renee Cook   •  

    thank you!!!! You have no idea how hard I’ve been listening to what Tina says. I’ve even had my husband and kids listen and now I know!

  49. Jim Senig   •  

    I want the little van to make a Ghost Busters Ecto cruiser.

  50. David Gridley   •  

    If you ever need a Katie Crown double, my neighbor is her doppelganger and I’m not the only one who thinks so!

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