DJ Delivers Starring Role

People may or may not the truck, but they sure love Dale Jarrett’s commercials about the big brown delivery vehicle.

The latest round of commercials revolve around Jarrett and his conversations with folks in a shopping mall. They all want Jarrett to drive the truck, but he’s adamant.

“I’m not driving the truck,” Jarrett says over and over.

It’s simple, yet quite effective – even downright humorous. And it’s extremely popular.

Stopping it would be as simple as Jarrett, reluctantly, getting behind the wheel of the big brown truck – or as UPS called in an earlier commercial, “the package car.”

But that would be too simple. And it wouldn’t be anywhere near as much fun. When the UPS commercials started, Jarrett was sitting in the infield of a track with a guy who passes as a UPS spokesman, who extols the virtues of the big, brown truck.

Jarrett, though, is unwavering in his resolve not to drive it. Those were popular enough, but the latest spots have made Jarrett a TV star. Well, maybe not in his mind.

“Cameras can do a lot of things,” Jarrett said. “I’m not very good at it. They put me with good people. “They are fun to do. I guess they figured out what I can’t do and what I can, and they keep it around that. As long as they do that, I’m OK.”

Jarrett got to work with his father, Ned, in one spot. Ned tries, unsuccessfully, of course, to get Dale to drive the truck, and then offers Dale some pie. In another, Dale and a fan throw coins into a fountain in a sort of “she loves me, she loves me not” game. In this case, it’s “I hope he drives the truck, I’m not driving the truck.”

In a third commercial, a young boy tries to guilt Jarrett into driving the truck by holding his breath. That didn’t work, either, as Jarrett simply popped the boy’s cheeks.

“He was good for about four takes,” Jarrett said of the young actor. “He had been there drinking Cokes and eating cookies all day. I’m not sure what he got paid, but he thought after four takes he had earned his cash. He wasn’t very patient after that.”

Acting is often a tedious business, with the same scene shot several times from different angles. Perfection is the goal, but it’s never achieved – especially when a young actor is involved.

“He was a great kid, but his attention span wasn’t much after those four,” Jarrett said. “He did them very well. I couldn’t disagree with him. He said, ‘I don’t know how I could do it better.’ They had to do close-ups of him, and he didn’t understand all of that.”

That commercial has become so popular that kids aren’t the only ones holding their breath in front of Jarrett.

“The thing about it now is the adults who come up whenever I’m doing autographs sessions,” Jarrett said. “It’s all right for the kids to come up. But these adults who come up holding their breath, I don’t know. Pop their cheeks and tobacco comes out.”

Jarrett talks with a straight face when describing what must be a hilarious incident when an adult holds his or her breath in front of him. Perhaps that’s what makes Jarrett such a good guy for endorsements.

His facial expressions were tested in a spot where Jarrett is riding up an escalator in the mall. The announcement “Would the owner of a white Ford Taurus please race the big brown truck?” is met with a look of disbelief on Jarrett’s face.

“We had two days’ worth of commercials to shoot between my dad, the little kid and then the guy standing around the fountain,” Jarrett said. “We were sitting around during lunch the second day, and the producer and director came up with that scenario.

“It’s pretty amazing that they could come up with that. I guess they had seen enough of me for two days to figure out I looked like I was kinda spacey anyway. I could do that look.”

Dale Jarrett, comedian, coming to TV screens near you.

“I don’t think we’re planning on stopping it for now,” Jarrett said. “We’re scheduled again in January to do some more. My understanding is I’m not driving the truck. I’ve got to keep answering that.”

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