When there’s several inches of snow, there’s opportunity for a viral video.
That’s what Casey Neistat discovered when he posted a video of himself strapped into a snowboard and being dragged behind a Jeep Wrangler through the snow-swept Manhattan streets on Saturday.
Wearing a bright red jacket — appropriately embossed with a YouTube logo — the two-minute video quickly went viral, thanks in part his readymade Internet following.
On Facebook, where Neistat has 280,000 fans, the video has racked up 23 million views and 270,000 shares in less than two days. On YouTube, where he has almost 10 times as many subscribers (2 million, to be exact), it garnered just 6 million viewers, underscoring Facebook’s emphasis on video.
But what stuck out was Neistat’s Jeep Wrangler. Defying a travel ban placed on the city, the vehicle effortlessly navigated the snow-filled streets leaving many to wonder if it was a native ad for Jeep. After all Jeep positions Wrangler as “the ultimate, all-American, 4×4 freedom machine.” Neistat’s video hit these points perfectly, showing the Jeep effortlessly towing him through Times Square while holding the Red, White and Blue.
— Luigi Calabrese (@LuigiCalabrese) January 24, 2016
— Lamron Wercs (@SCReWNoRMaL) January 24, 2016
Turns out, it wasn’t. Neistat told Digiday that it’s his car and Jeep wasn’t involved in the video.
Jeep hasn’t responded to our requests for comment, but Kate Saxton, a PR director for Jeep in the United Kingdom, has tweeted the story a few times on her Twitter feed indicated that the brand is at least impressed with the Wrangler’s performance.