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The Story Behind Ourisman Chevrolet’s “Old Town Road” Spot

Thursday night’s Democratic debate had one clear winner: The Ourisman Chevrolet of Rockville “Old Town Road”-inspired spot that ran during one of the commercial breaks, at least if you were watching it on MSNBC in DC.

Reached by phone, Ourisman Chevrolet of Rockville GM Robert Ourisman Jr. attributes the ad to the fact that he has a “bit of a funky imagination” and says he came up with the Chevy-focused lyrics for Lil Nas X‘s country-hip-hop hit in the shower. His two-and-a-half-year-old niece, Finley, costars in the spot, during which Ourisman plays air guitar to show off an Equinox and dabs near a Bolt. (Did you learn that move from Fortnite, Mr. Ourisman? “I know I did a dab. I’m not a gamer.”)

That’s not Ourisman’s voice on the track: Salesperson Shane Joaquin recorded the lyrics he’s lip-synching. The black hat, however, is all Ourisman. He bought it in Arizona, and the commercial marks the second time he’s gotten a chance to wear it. “Not much use for it in DC,” he says.

Reaction, he says, has been positive: “Any time you have a two-and-a-half-year-old dancing on TV in a cowgirl outfit, it’s hard to mess that up,” he says.

Ourisman stars in the dealership’s commercials, which have their inspired moments, like the “Price Drop Puppy” and an ad where a Bolt fries the top of his head. But “Old Town Road,” whose tune Ourisman says he didn’t license for the parody, appears to be the dealership’s first legitimate competitor with Ourisman family earworms of yore, like “You Always Get Your Way” and the Ourisman Dodge jingle that my sister and I used to sing along with in the backseat when we were kids. “Hopefully, yeah, there’s kids in the backseat singing this song,” Ourisman says.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.