About the Trunk Monkey

If you’re looking for Trunkmonkey Racing, please go to the Trunkmonkey Racing Web site. All the Trunk Monkey videos are on the videos page.

Suburban Auto Group released a series of Trunk Monkey Super Bowl commercials for 2003 and 2004. The ad agency that produced these commercials is R/West. Although the Suburban Auto Group popularized the Trunkmonkey with their Trunk Monkey commercials, Sean Sosik-Hamor and the Subaru community were responsible for creating the concept back in 2000.

To take some load off the official Trunk Monkey video server, we have mirrored the Trunk Monkey videos.

History

On January 14, 2000, Sean Sosik-Hamor posted a parody rumor on the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club (NASIOC) forums stating that the upcoming version of the Subaru Impreza WRX would include a trained monkey that lives in the trunk to help with vehicle performance. The joke quickly took off, and the Trunkmonkey instantly became the official mascot of NASIOC. After a few weeks, the idea of the Trunkmonkey had spread to all the regional club forums and had become a piece of everyday conversation.

The Trunkmonkey.com domain name was registered on March 23, 2000 to start up a Web site dedicated to the joke, which Sean designed. As news of Trunkmonkey.com spread, NASIOC members started purchasing stuffed monkeys and mounting them in various locations in their cars. Sean created a photo gallery, and members started submitting photos of their Trunkmonkeys in various poses. Kris Marciniak, founder of the New England Subaru Impreza Club (NESIC), then created two Trunkmonkey cartoons on July 20, 2000 that portrayed the Trunkmonkey as a performance accessory, mechanic, and security system.

Shortly thereafter, Sean formed an amateur motorsports team aptly named Trunkmonkey Racing and later registered the TrunkmonkeyRacing.com domain name on August 20, 2001. Initial logos of the Trunkmonkey were designed which showed a silhouette of a monkey wielding a wrench in an aggressive posture. Vinyl automotive decals of the Trunkmonkey logo and Trunkmonkey Racing text were then produced and sold via the Web and in-person at various amateur motorsports events.

Over the course of 2001 and 2002, Trunkmonkey Racing became more serious, recruited multiple drivers and co-drivers, and built three race cars for autocross, rallycross, ice racing, and rally competition. A few other race teams and amateur motorsports drivers became honorary affiliates and displayed Trunkmonkey regalia on their cars as part of their sponsorship packages.

On Superbowl Sunday, 2003, Sean started receiving various e-mails and calls from online friends on the West Coast asking if he had anything to do with the Trunk Monkey Superbowl advertisement for Suburban Auto Group that had aired in the Portland, OR market. A few days later, a NASIOC member from the West Coast digitized and posted a copy of the Suburban Auto Group Trunk Monkey advertisement. Sean was initially flattered about the attention the Trunkmonkey had received and posted the video on Trunkmonkey.com.

As news of the Trunk Monkey advertisements spread across the Web, Trunkmonkey.com started receiving thousands of hits as people searched for and e-mailed around links to the video. A few weeks later, someone from Suburban Auto Group downloaded the video from Trunkmonkey.com and posted it on SuburbanAutoGroup.com.

Sean started calling Suburban Auto Group in February of 2003 to get more information about the Trunk Monkey advertisements. He explained that he was the original creator of the Trunkmonkey concept and would like contact information for their ad agency to find out how the Trunk Monkey advertisements were conceived and produced. The secretary was initially very rude saying that she was happy that they were first to the punch with such a great ad campaign, and said that she’d pass the message on to a manager. A day or two later, the manager of the dealership got back to Sean and passed on contact information for R/West, the agency that produced the campaign.

Voicemail was left for R/West in March, 2003, and Jessa Barnes got back to Sean via e-mail on March 11, 2003. She claimed that they had come up with the Trunk Monkey idea completely on their own with no outside inspiration after the idea for a Trunk Midget campaign was deemed politically incorrect. Sean explained that he was flattered to see the Trunkmonkey go mainstream and that he would have no problems with future development of the ad campaign as long as credit was somehow given where credit was due since he had come up with the idea more than two years previous.

About a year later, Sean found out that four more Trunk Monkey advertisements had been produced by R/West, and the voiceover at the end had been changed to “the Trunk Monkey – a revolutionary idea you’ll only find at Suburban Auto Group”. Suburban Auto Group’s Web site had also been changed to say that they were “the home of the Trunk Monkey”. Sean archived copies of the five videos on Trunkmonkey.com to show that the voiceover had been changed to claim that they were the original creators of the Trunk Monkey.

Shortly after archiving the videos and modifying the Trunkmonkey Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to link to the videos, traffic for Trunkmonkey.com skyrocketed as people found the site while searching for the four new Trunk Monkey advertisements. Trunkmonkey.com now receives between 1500 and 3500 unique visitors per day totaling 20000 to 50000 hits and 6 GB to 30 GB of throughput per day.

Web Sites:

History and Archives:

  • First Trunk Monkey Post (01/14/2000)
    Unfortunately, this post was inadvertently deleted from the club forum during a database cleanup. This link is to the archived page at Archive.org and only includes the first page. On my machine at home, I have the first five pages of responses saved up through April 10, 2001.
  • Archive.org Archive of Trunkmonkey.com (09/15/2000-Present)
    This is the Archive.org archive of Trunkmonkey.com dating back to September 15, 2000. This will show that the FAQ that describes the Trunkmonkey in detail was originally written back in 2000.
  • Trunkmonkey Logo Sketches (07/14/2000)
    This is the first posting I made showing the logos. There are also photos of the vinyl on the car.
  • Trunk Monkey Cartoons (07/20/2000)
    Cartoons of the Trunk Monkey by Kris Marciniak.
  • Trunkmonkeys in Action
    Photos of Trunkmonkeys submitted by fans. These photos range in dates from 2000 through the present.

Domain Ownership as of September, 2009:

Both Trunkmonkey.com and TrunkmonkeyRacing.com were registered and created years before Suburban Auto Group or R/West even had their Web sites up and running.

Trunkmonkey.com

Registrant:
Sean Sosik-Hamor
PO Box 764
Pelham, New Hampshire 03076
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: TRUNKMONKEY.COM
Created on: 23-Mar-00
Expires on: 19-Jul-11
Last Updated on: 30-Jun-09

TrunkmonkeyRacing.com

Registrant:
Sean Sosik-Hamor
PO Box 764
Pelham, New Hampshire 03076
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: TRUNKMONKEYRACING.COM
Created on: 20-Aug-01
Expires on: 19-Jul-11
Last Updated on: 04-Sep-09

TrunkmonkeyAd.com

Registrant:
Rains Marketing, LLC (trunkmonkeyad.com)
5440 SW Westgate Dr. #250

Portland, OREGON 97221
US

Registrar: DomainPeople Inc.

Domain Name: trunkmonkeyad.com
Created on .............2004-04-12-16.22.30.000000
Expires on .............2010-04-12-16.22.30.000000
Record last updated on .2009-02-23-18.06.34.000000
Status .................ACTIVE

SuburbanAutoGroup.com

Registrant:
Suburban Automotive
37000 Hwy 26 PO Box 820
Sandy, OR 97055
US

Domain Name: SUBURBANAUTOGROUP.COM

Record expires on 01-Jul-2013.
Record created on 28-Apr-2004.
Database last updated on 25-Sep-2009 17:41:50 EDT.

R-West.com

Registrant:
Cogent IT
9800 SW BeavertonHillsdale hw
Suite 106
Beaverton, OR 97005
US
503-924-3621
Fax:503-296.2092

Domain Name: R-WEST.COM

Record last updated 01-22-2009 10:41:21 AM
Record expires on 01-20-2010
Record created on 01-20-2003