Tanry Craigslist Car Ad


Oddly enough, the piece of advertising I’m most famous for happened mostly by accident.

I was moving out to the Bay Area from St. Louis, and I needed to sell my car – a 1999 tan Toyota Camry (a.k.a. “The Tanry”) – for some initial funds for the move. Unfortunately, although the car ran just fine, it had a number of quirks and aesthetic imperfections (i.e., “huge dents”) I worried was going to make it a tough one to sell.

So, inspired by those old collages we used to make in second grade with cut-out pictures from magazines, I decided to make a super-elaborate ad that enthusiastically touted all of its detriments as positives.

Having eventually spent something like 30 hours cutting and pasting the thing by hand, I finally posted it on Craigslist and shared the link with my friends on Facebook and Twitter, thinking they might get a kick out of it.

Then something crazy happened.

Over the course of the next two weeks, the ad started to spread from friend to friend and then outward, going the teensiest, tiniest bit viral. I was featured on AdWeek, AOL, Jezebel, and Jalopnik. Because I’d put my email and phone number right there in the ad, hundreds of people started calling, texting, and sending me messages. Job offers came in. Business Insider called it the second-best ad of 2013. I made out with like 4 women because of it.

And yes, I totally sold the car.


Writer / “Designer”


April 2013