“You can crush bad credit!” Redskin linebacker LaVar Arrington tells the camera after tackling an opponent. It’s easy with Eastern Motors, he says.
The TV commercial was filmed at Gonzaga High’s playing field. “Hey, stay down, punk!” LaVar tells “bad credit” with a scowl.
Wizard Brendan Haywood also plays on the Eastern team. He weaves between players representing bad credit’s TurnedDown, Refused, and Rejected, ending in a sweet dunk.
Why are these jerseyed crusaders uniting against bad credit? Because of hometown car seller Eastern Motors and its catchy theme song, best known for its tag line, “At Eastern Motors, your job’s your credit.”
Nine years ago, the company began the jingle that launched a thousand credit-squashing dunks and tackles and helped elevate the song to the kind of cult status enjoyed by the Ben’s Chili Bowl chili dog.
It started with the song “Hey Sexy Lady” by Shaggy, over which Eastern’s founder, Robert Bassam, layered his catchy lyrics. Bassam could have stopped there with a radio spot, but instead he amassed a collection of NBA and NFL stars to drive the message home via TV commercials.
Now Eastern puts $4.2 million annually into its ad campaign—and, yes, it sells cars. In 2005, Eastern projects $250 million in sales for its 11 outposts, from Harrisonburg to Frederick—impressive for a company that started in 1992 with 25 cars on its Washington Boulevard lot in Arlington.
Several local athletes, including Redskins running back Clinton Portis, have appeared, and Eastern’s campaign even welcomes former Baltimore resident and Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony.
While area residents sing Eastern’s jingle from time to time, Gaithersburg DJ Jesse Tittsworth has taken it a step further: His recent Baltimore house-style EP features the track “Eastern Motors—Titts Toy Store Remix,” an up-tempo tune intended for the dance floor.
Positive reviews of Tittsworth’s album are pushing sales such that soon Washingtonians won’t be the only ones singing “Let Eastern Motors put you in a car today.”