CarMax Salutes Curbs, Which Are Really Having a Moment

New spot from The Martin Agency and Max Malkin

Curbs … they're awesome!

To tout its contactless curbside pickup option, CarMax worked with The Martin Agency and Prettybird director Max Malkin to fashion an ode to those ubiquitous edgings of concrete and stone in this 30-second spot:

CarMax | Curbside

"The curb," a narrator begins. "It's probably not something you've thought about. Unless you were parking, or skating, or trying to save the oceans" with stenciled environmental messages.

We see curbs in action—well, they stay put as people interact with them, obviously—and the voiceover concludes, "But now, curbs are having a moment. From restaurants, to your veterinarian, to CarMax."
 
"It was important that CarMax demonstrate in a relatable way how the company is meeting the needs of customers right now," Martin Agency senior copywriter Graham Unterberger tells Muse.

One night, while brainstorming with art director Dustin Dodd, "our minds went to curbs themselves—big curbs, little curbs, curbs that hand out parking-garage tickets," Unterberger recalls. "And now, businesses are using curbs to do their business. We joked that 'Curbs are having a moment,' and that line became the heart of the spot."

The team reached out to Prettybird, "to see how this could be executed," he says. "They knew Max Malkin was the man to do it. He's a director of photography turned director" with the cinematography chops to bring the concept to life. "In the wrong hands, this could have been a boring bit of urban planning," Unterberger says. "But Max made concrete sing."

Malkin won fame for high-profile work on Apple, Adidas and Nike, and he recently went curbside (on a smaller scale) for Silk Almondmilk in a cute spot recently, starring his wife, son and family dog. For CarMax, he strikes just the right tone, conveying timely information with a suitably light touch.

A second spot, "Safari," breaks today on social media, but it was assembled in a very different way:

CarMax | Safari

First Covid, now dinosaurs. Will the plagues never end?

"The team had seen neighborhood 'car-faris' popping up in the news, but couldn't track down the perfect UGC clip that captured the experience," Unterberger says. "Then our producer Jim Burns realized there was one here in Richmond [the agency's base of operations]. So, I jumped in the car with my daughter and drove over. That's my shaky iPhone camera work and squealing voice in the background. Thankfully, her reaction more than makes up for it."

Martin explored similar themes for Carmax in "Birthday Parade" as lockdowns began.

"Cars have always been escape vehicles, and with everyone being isolated and going stir crazy, they're letting people get out of the house in a safe way," Unterberger says. "Thanks to cars, humans are finding creative ways to connect again, and we wanted to shed light on the most charming ones."

CREDITS

Client: CarMax
Vice President, Marketing Services: Laura Donahue
Director, Brand Video and Sports Marketing: Michael Reeder
Manager, Marketing Operations: Emily Layman

Agency: The Martin Agency
Executive Creative Director: Jerry Hoak                
Group Creative Director: Anne Marie Hite        
Creative Director: Lindsey King
Art Director: Dustin Dodd
Copywriter: Graham Unterberger    
SVP, Head of Integrated Production: Tasha Dean
Executive Producer: Tricia Hoover
Producer: Lauren Galanides
Associate Director of Business Affairs: Alice Isner 
Financial Manager: Elizabeth Moore        
Project Manager: DeeDee Hamad        
Group Account Director: Walker Teele
Account Director: Lindsey Netto            
Account Supervisor: Ellie Johnson                                    
Account Executive: Myna Sharma                
Strategy Director: Cecelia Parrish                 
Strategic Planner: Stuart Good                 

Production Company: Prettybird                
Director: Max Malkin                                
President: Ali Brown
Director of Production: Tracy Hauser
Producer: Matt Wersinger

Editorial Company:
Partner/Lead Editor: Ben Suenaga
Assistant Editor: David Bryen
Managing Director: Melissa Mapes
Senior Producer: Adam Roe

Post Production/VFX: SuperJoy
Senior Flame Artist: Peter Charles
Flame Assistant: Marissa Walker
Senior Post Producer: Katherine Leatherwood
Head of Production: Brian Creech

Audio Post Facility: Rainmaker
Producer: Isaac Whalen
Engineer/Mixer: Jeff McManus

Color: Company 3 – NY
Colorist: Sofie Borup
Producer: Alexandra Lubrano

Music Company: Halo Music & Sound
Executive Producer: Peter Gannon

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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