Ad of the Day: Real or Illusion? Honda CR-V Spot Keeps You Guessing

A view askew from mcgarrybowen

Hey, advertisers … stop blowing my mind!

Honda follows Ray-Ban's impressively trippy optical-illusion video with this 60-second European TV spot from mcgarrybowen in London. The spot, called "An Impossible Made Possible," shows the CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC Diesel traversing a surreal landscape of complex and cool visual effects. At one point, we get an Ames room type illusion where a woman blows on her coffee, apparently setting a toy Honda CR-V 1.6 atop a table in motion. It turns out the SUV is really a full-size model parked a few yards behind her … but the weird eye-candy in the scene doesn't end there.

Describing the spot in detail would give too much away. It's a pretty wild ride, packed with imagery that rewards repeat viewing. I especially like how each illusion is ultimately shattered, letting the audience in on the trickery at hand.

The exceedingly stylized clip, directed by Chris Palmer of Gorgeous, succeeds as a pure content play, and the main advertising element, a somewhat clunky voiceover that talks about "less fuel in for more miles out," seem almost intrusive. Still, the point that things aren't always as they appear—a rule this campaign applies to various qualities of the Honda CR-V 1.6, such as gas mileage—is made in exceptionally eye-opening fashion.

Some commenters have noted similarities to Audi's 7-year-old "Illusions" commercial. They should keep in mind that advertising, like all creative endeavors, often borrows from and reworks what's come before, building on inspiration to create new vision. Yes, the commercials are somewhat alike. Even so, with the Honda spot, you don't get the feeling that you've seen it all before.

Client: Honda
Agency: mcgarrybowen London
Executive Creative Directors: Paul Jordan, Angus MacAdam
Copywriter: Richard Holmes
Art Director: Remco Graham
Planner: Max Kennedy
Agency Producer: Richard Firminger
Production Company: Gorgeous
Director: Chris Palmer
Editor: Paul Watts
Postproduction: The Mill
Colorist: Seamus O'Kane
VFX: Tom Sparks
Audio Post: Parv Thind
Audio Post: Wave
Media Agency: Starcom