What better way for an automaker to communicate performance, longevity and a never-ending commitment to quality than with an ad that itself never ends?
Honda and mcgarrybowen London have made just that for the 2015 CR-V, following up 2013's gold Lion-winning "Illusions" ad with another spot based on an optical illusion. It's called "Endless Road," and it shows a car on a hypnotic, infinitely looping, spiraling road to illustrate the never-ending quest to create the most advanced CR-V yet.
Honda, which really pushed the limits of YouTube video with last year's mind-bending "The Other Side" film, also has an innovative YouTube element this time around—when you watch the "Endless Road" on YouTube, it uses real-time data to visually reflect the time of day and weather of your location, wherever you are in the world.
Note: You have to be on the YouTube site to see the never-ending, location-specific version of the spot. You can see a shorter, embeddable version here:
Chris Palmer of Gorgeous directed the spot, with help from digital production company MediaMonks and the set designers at The Magic Camera Company, which created a one-tenth scale model of the road. The soundtrack is "Twisted Nerve" by Bernard Herrmann, from Kill Bill.
Adweek spoke with Angus Macadam, executive creative director at mcgarrybowen, London, about the new spot.
Were you always committed to finding another cool illusion following the success of last year's?
The new CR-V has lots of improvements, but it's basically the same model, so another illusion felt right. The fact that Honda endlessly pushed to improve the CR-V, in so many ways, was what led to our idea for this campaign.
Did you consider various illusions before landing on this one?
No, this was the only illusion we discussed. Our idea was about "endlessness," and this illusion communicated that best.
There must be various ways to communicate the idea of an endless road. How did you discover this idea of circular motion to communicate that?
We knew we wanted an endless piece of film with a looping driving shot. We had a few crude examples of the Droste effect, and knew we wanted to make that work in the real world. Then we started talking to Chris, and he worked out the maths.
It drove him mad for months, but he cracked it. The film looks simple, but it's hugely complicated. Chris originally wanted to shoot on location on a pigtail road. But as we developed a pre-vis, we realized a real location wouldn't give us the control we needed. So Chris suggested a scale model of a pig-tail road.
The film really is seamless. Can you explain technically how it works?
The seamless illusion works because of the mathematics behind what's called "the golden spiral," shifting your view of the scene 180 degrees to reveal a new scene.
Can you talk about the other production challenges?
Jordi Bares, creative director at Glassworks, says it's the hardest thing he's ever worked on. He and Chris developed a pre-vis that we had to perfect on a computer and then translate to model makers. It challenged everyone. Like I said, the film looks kind of simple, but it's incredibly complicated.
What did Chris Palmer bring to the table on this project?
Chris held it all together. A lot of people didn't understand what we were making or how it worked. Chris was insistent that we should do this the hard way. There were loads of easy ways we could have created a film that sort of looked endless. But Chris made sure we did it properly, making something truly seamless.
Why did you want to personalize the YouTube to the viewer's location? And was that technically challenging?
We could have just ran the endless film on YouTube and people would have understood it. But we wanted to do something a bit more rewarding for anyone having a look.
How does all this come together to communicate the Honda brand promise?
Honda doesn't stop at OK, good or even great. The team there keeps going to make things better, and they never, ever stop.
Check out the behind-the-scenes video below.
Agency: mcgarrybowen, London
Executive Creative Directors: Angus Macadam, Paul Jordan
Creative Team: Charlotte Watmough, Holly Fallows
Planner: Michael McCourt
Agency Producer: Sian Parker
Business Director: Alice Tendler
Film Production: Gorgeous
Director: Chris Palmer
Executive Producer: Rupert Smythe
Editor: Scot Crane
Postproduction: Glassworks; FaTiBoo
Flame: Lewis Saunders
Creative Director (3-D): Jordi Bares @ Glassworks
Colorist: Seamus O'Kane @ The Mill
Digital Production: MediaMonks
Executive Producer: Wouter Smit
Producer: Rodrigo Alberini
Creative Directors: Jon Biggs, Alex Danklof
Project Manager: Sylvia van der Leen
Audio Production: Munzie Thind @ Grand Central
Music: Twisted Nerve Main Theme
Composer, Arranger: Bernard Herrmann