Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Why can't American Honda make an ad this good?

ADWEEK recently raved about this brilliant, two minute-long commercial for Honda UK. As far as I know, that spot is running only in Britain (notwithstanding the use of Garrison Keillor for the few words of voiceover.)

This in not an ad for any one product or even any one division of the company. It's a view of the whole brand from 30,000 feet, which pays homage to the ingenuity of Honda's R&D and engineering. It's all about the engineers' imaginations; the background is, literally, a clean sheet of paper.

The spot's running on Channel 4 over there, where Honda is sponsoring a documentary series. The 2-minute length makes it impractical to run on U.S. TV, and frankly I hope that American Honda doesn't adapt it, because I'm sure they'll cut most if not all the motorcycles! But I'd love to see them run the full-length spot in American cinemas.

Anyway, the spot is loaded with stuff motorcyclists and motorsports nuts will appreciate, like the Honda RC143 125cc Grand Prix bike from the '60s, and the snippet of voiceover mentioning John McGuinness.


Oh, to have a full corporate brand ad here in the U.S. pay such homage to the company's motorcycle roots. The ad does have some indirect American content, in the sense that it was produced by the London office of the U.S. agency Weiden & Kennedy.

Backmarker kudos to Honda UK marketing boss Olivia Dunn, and W&K's highly regarded creative team of Chris Lapham and Aaron McGurk. Apparently the creative team's working on an even longer format piece that will appear online.

I'll try to highlight that, too.

In the meantime, while we're on the subject of great ads, here's two minutes worth wasting, in the form of another Honda long-form ad, also voiced by Garrison Keillor...

And, for those of you who know I'm also a dog lover, a follow up to 'The Cog', in the form of this new spot. Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. Or is it 'plagiarism'?

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