At least one person in each of these "Happy Honda Days" holiday ads deserves a big lump of coal. George the grouchy father. Steve's smother—sorry, mother—Nancy. Bratty sister Samantha. Lisa's terrible kids. OK, maybe Pete, whose only crime is accidentally breaking something off camera, should get an orange or something.
There are more or less two ways to go with family-themed holiday ads—the nauseatingly perfect household, or the rambunctious family of crazy people you're going to be locked in the house with for a solid week. Honda, admirably, has chosen the second way, although the automaker is perhaps pushing it with the gloriously multiethnic Odyssey-ful of thirtysomething suburban women rocking out to Run-DMC's "Christmas in Hollis." Someone in that minivan is uncomfortable, or should be.
Casting is pretty near perfect here. Nancy the overbearing mom is fantastic, bellowing "TRASH CANS!" in exactly the right leonine register to her poor son. And Samantha the evil sis has the little-princess act down cold. My personal favorite character is Steve's beautiful date, who gets to hear Mom call in on the convenient Bluetooth connection to ask about Steve's rash and who wordlessly goes through what appear to be the five stages of grieving in about two seconds. What's funny is that in each of these ads, one of the car's standard features is being horribly abused—by bratty sisters who hog the iPod connection or grumpy dads who don't want to listen to Pandora.
The ads—from RPA and Moxie Pictures director Frank Todaro—do promise more happiness at the sales event, though. (This is the ninth year of the annual "Happy Honda Days" holiday campaign.) But while it's been a few years since I visited a car dealership, I don't remember finding the glove compartment filled with happiness when I left the lot. "More happiness and standard features," guys? If these ads prove anything, it's that happiness is part of the LX package.
EVP, CCO: Joe Baratelli
SVP, GCD: Jason Sperling
VP, CD: Curt Johnson
CD: Alicia Dotter
ACD: Sarah May Bates
SVP, Executive Producer, Content: Gary Paticoff
Agency Senior Producer: Fran Wall
Production Company: Moxie Pictures
Director: Frank Todaro
Executive Producer: Robert Fernandez, Karol Zeno, Roger Zorovich
Producer: Laura Heflin
Editing Company: The Reel Thing
Editor: Lance Pereira
Flame Artist: Moody Glasgow
Executive Producer: Doug Kleckner
Colorist: Beau Leon
Audio Post: Lime Studios
Mixer: Dave Wegg
Music: Wojahn Brothers