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Behind the viral Honda Accord video | A tale of love — and an Internet-famous cat

From passion project to a marriage proposal.

Max LanmanRemember that story we brought you about the well-used 1996 Honda Accord with 141,095 miles on it that was fetching five-digit bids on eBay, thanks to a viral "Luxury is a state of mind" pseudo-commercial? Well, the director of that video, Max Lanman, who lives in Los Angeles, responded to Autoblog's request for comment and talked about the making of the highly tongue-in-cheek spot.

Some of the highlights are absolutely adorable:

  • The girlfriend referenced in the video who needs to sell the Honda? "In between the time that we shot it and the time that it's come out I proposed to her and she's now my fiancé," Lanman says.
  • That's not his actual girlfriend — sorry, fiancé — in the video. It's Anne Marie Avey, an actress.
  • His actual fiance, whose name is Carrie Hollenbeck, now drives a Chevrolet Volt.
  • The cat riding in the car in the video, Papa Puff Pants, belongs to Avey and is Internet-famous.

The video, Lanman says, stems from a harebrained idea he had a couple years ago while he and Hollenbeck were driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, awed by the scenery, to go camping at Big Sur.

"I had this like loose idea that I thought was funny, just this s****y (expletive) car done as a luxury car commercial."

His finance had been driving the two-door Accord EX, which has scratches all over the exterior and at least one tear in the leather seat upholstery, for years. "She's super sentimental and she's driven this car from high school," he said. "She has a job and she could afford to buy a better car, but she drove it until this year. And I would give her so much crap for driving this."

Two years later, Lanman says, Hollenbeck "was finally ready to move on and she got a new, used Chevy Volt. She does sustainability for a living, so she was ready to come over to the 21st century." That also meant it was time to try and sell the old Honda in earnest.

"From there we got this kind of character developed, where she's very casual, self-confident, doesn't give a f*** (expletive), just very utilitarian, one and the same with the car," he said. "'Luxury is a state of mind,' that line came to me very early on and we just kind of worked in reverse to express that."

Lanman, who runs a creative agency, used his L.A. connections to get the project rolling. He called Avey, his friend, and asked her if she was up for doing something weird. He tapped Christopher Ripley, his college roommate at Yale who has worked on music videos for the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Anderson Paak, to handle cinematography. Andrew Johnson, another fellow Yale alum, did the musical score pro bono. And he asked a guy who lives in his building, an actor whose voice he liked, to do the voiceover.

The video was shot in Los Angeles, Malibu and along the very same spot of the PCH ("I geotagged it") where he had his initial idea, using a drone. Without a budget or proper equipment, they improvised, rigging a tripod to the passenger seat and out the window to get the shot of Avey dancing in the driver's seat.

"The three of us just basically got inside of this car and drove around with me crouched in the back looking at a monitor and Chris in front getting footage," Lanman said.

Once the video was finally done, he posted it on Reddit, thinking nothing would happen. "I checked back an hour later and it had like 70 up votes," he said. "It was really fun, and luckily Chris and I were both not busy and we both grabbed pizza. We were on the local news here yesterday."

For the record, Lanman doesn't think many of the larger bids, which had climbed past $32,000 as of Friday, are legit. "It would be crazy if we could by a new Honda Accord with old-Honda sale money," he said.

We'll see when bidding ends Thursday.

Related Video:

Honda Accord Information

Honda Accord

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