The CarFox was never actually intended to be the entire hub of the entire CARFAX ad campaign. In the maiden voyage of Zimmerman's new creative, a disreputable used car dealer mishears potential buyers' requests to "Show them the CARFAX" in a series of Vaudevillian ways - "Car maps?" "No, CARFAX" "Car flaps?" "No, CARFAX" "Oh, a Car Fox?", etc. But people were calling and showing up to dealers asking where they could get one of those cute little Car Fox puppets and, as they say, a star was born.


Now with his own wily personality and the ability to foil potentially bad deals everywhere, the Car Fox needed six new ads of his own. My partner, Oscar Skelton (an extremely talented designer and unwitting Cockney coach), and I set about almost seventy boards total, as this would more define not only the Car Fox as a character, but the dealers and private sellers he thwarts and how.


You did read that right. Seventy boards. As in "ten times seven". As in, "Wow, that is an awful lot". As in, "How did you not simply leap out your office window?" Gaining client alignment, even amongst themselves, proved to be at-times difficult. Everyone wanted it "perfect", but there was no real consensus between brand managers, marketing directors, etc. on what that perfect actually was. We call that "the braille method" - letting the bumps be your guide.


We couldn't make our dealer too disreputable, because dealers were our customers. We couldn't make the owners hapless, they had to be empowered. We couldn't make the fox omniscient, he just had to happen to be there and offer to help. Punny, but not corny. Funny, but not silly. Stock in oxymorons soared.


We eventually cast one of my favorite commercial actors as the dealer (you'll see him in other stuff I've done) and a crew of "they seem nice enough" types as the buyers. Somehow the director of "A Harold and Kumar 3-D Christmas" got attached. And we needed to find a seal who could act but wasn't in the union. Sounds like your typical Thursday at Zimmerman so far.




You get the gist - the dealer, sans CARFAX, helpfully offers up something else. In six different ads. Bear in mind, we had to write that situation seventy times to get what you see before you produced.


I kind of want that CGI puppet as an Account Director.