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Ad of the Day: Honda

Patrick Warburton's droll spots are part of a new breed of holiday ads that deflate as much as they celebrate the season

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Amid all the holiday madness, any calming influence is more than welcome. In a world of crazy Christmas commercials, it's Honda and Patrick Warburton who are leading the way this season in dialing things back a notch.

Warburton—who's been in ads before, notably as the top-of-the-line PC in this old Apple spot—is the perfect low-stress spokesman, droll and mumblingly humorous. And this great "Happy Honda Days" ad series from ad agency RPA (his second for Honda following the "Good Reasons" campaign earlier this year) is right up his alley—calling on him to be quietly dismissive of all the holiday hoopla while still making a holiday pitch. He can get away with this, partly because he acknowledges the hypocrisy and partly because he's just flat-out likable. The spots also benefit from some sharp comic writing and several inspired plots. In one ad, he opens by suggesting that "Elves are shoddy craftsmen," then points out that Hondas are made by "real human beings." In another, he ridicules holiday ads from luxury automakers that show cars wrapped in bows. "Are you a millionaire? No? Well, then you probably don't give cars to people as presents," he says, as he rips the bow off a Civic. (Again, though, this is disingenuous—as another spot urges you to give the gift of a Honda, just to watch the person's joyful reaction.)

The work is part of a new style of holiday messaging—ads that poke fun at the excesses of the gift-giving season. Target is doing this, too, though in an entirely different tone, with its crazy Christmas lady. But the Honda work is similar in wanting to have it both ways—to embrace the holidays but also commiserate with shoppers who find it stressful. It's a tricky feat to do well—telling people to do a little holiday shopping despite the holiday season, not because of it. But it seems Honda found just the right man for the job.















CREDITS:
Agency: RPA
EVP, ECD: Joe Baratelli
SVP, GCD: Jason Sperling
Senior AD: Hobart Birmingham
Senior CW: Perrin Anderson
AD: Brian Farkas
CW: Tylynne McCauley
AD: Cheston Kwan
Junior CW: Josh Hill
SVP, Executive Producer: Gary Paticoff

Production Company: Drive-Thru
Director: Tim Kendall
DP: Neil Shapiro
Executive Producer: Mark Setterholm
Line Producer: Deven LeTendre
Production Designer: Mark Behn

Editorial Company: The Reel Thing, Inc.
Editor: Sally Banta ("Holiday Ad," "Fake Joy," "Giant Offers," "Sense of Urgency")
Editor: Lance Pereira ("Elves," "Best of Times," "I'm Back," "Holiday Angle," "Car Gift")
Executive Producer: Doug Klekner
Assistant Editor: Scott Deerborne

Music Company: Mophonics
Executive Producer: Michael Frick
Head of Prod: Shelley Altman
Creative Director: Stephan Altman