Even though RickRolling is practically a vintage internet prank at this point, it’s proving to still be a popular joke to pull on family and friends. For 15 years, Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” music video—which was originally released in 1987–has been used to troll people. Now, there’s finally a new version thanks to an ad for California State Automobile Association Insurance Group (CSAA). Released on YouTube on August 15, the video campaign presents an incredible replication of the retro music video to sell viewers their “InsurAAAnce.”
The video opens strong with Astley, 57, dressed in three reproduced outfits and backdrops corresponding to their iconic 1987 equivalent. Interspliced between shots of the English songwriter dancing are shots of backup dancers styled in AAA wear and other AAAdvertisement elements. One dancer checks off a list of items that Astley, and the insurance, won’t do to viewers: give you up, let you down—you know the rest.
Elements of a life nearly 35 years after the original music video are prevalent, such as a Zoom meeting with four different versions of Astley. The artist at one point has a mise-en-abyme moment of watching the commercial on his brand new phone, turning to his two twins and saying, “Is this still a thing?” The crew of AAA dancers seem to reply by all breaking into a huge dance party to end the video.
Viewers seem to be enjoying CSAA’s marketing campaign. The video has gotten over 2 million views in a week, with a flood of support in the comments. One commenter says, “35 years later, he can still pull off the gyrating footwork without embarrassing himself. The guy's legendary!” Another viewer notes, “I'm sure Rick gets tired of the joke sometimes, but this song is genuinely a timeless banger and I hope he knows we know that.”
Astley remains a good sport about the phenomenon he didn’t know he created back when he was only 21 years old. When recently commenting on the massive decades-long reach of “Never Gonna Give You Up,” he said, “Listen, let’s face it…[the] video and the song have drifted off into the ether and become something else, and I’m ever so grateful for it.” The Englishman’s cult-favorite music video just recently passed 1 billion views on YouTube, being one of only four ‘80s hits to be part of the exclusive billions club. The song is also inching closer every day to 600 million streams on Spotify.
“Paying homage to my video for the AAA Insurance commercial—from the set to the wardrobe—has been an amazing trip down memory lane,” says Astley. “The song has been so good to me, and I’m thrilled to be working with another iconic brand that has certainly stood the test of time.”