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It's Mind Over Matter for Honda

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American Honda Motor Co. launches a campaign this week for a car "you never have to think about"—the 2003 Honda Civic.

Three 30-second TV spots and three print ads from Rubin Postaer and Associates in Santa Monica, Calif., position the Civic as a "dependable ally" that's "fun to drive, stylish and good-looking," said Doug Hoffman, national ad manager for Honda in Torrance, Calif. Spending on the campaign is $20-25 million, sources said.

The TV spots have young people in Civics asking random questions. In one, two guys are driving in Hawaii in a coupe; one wonders how an island can have interstate highways. A second spot shows three guys in the coupe questioning what color hair a bald person would list on a driver's license. A third ad has two women in a sedan wondering why you never see fat squirrels even though their diet is mostly nuts.

"When you drive a car you never have to think about, what will you think about?" says a voiceover at the end of each spot.

Print ads show close-ups of Civic owners. Graphics indicate how many neurons they use worrying about certain things. Car concerns trail such worries as hair and weight loss.

The target is 18-34-year-olds. "People in that age bracket have lots of stuff on their minds—career, girlfriend, boyfriend, rent, the stock market," said Larry Postaer, evp and director of creative services at RPA. "The last thing they want to worry about is their car."

TV ads are airing on spot and cable during prime time and late-night programming and sports. Print is running in national titles.

Honda sold more than 215,000 Civics through August of this year, making it the best-selling car in its class, per J.D. Power and Associates.

RPA this week also breaks its first corporate Honda ad for IMAX and other giant-screen theaters. The 65-second ad features vehicles built based on children's drawings and is tagged, "The power of dreams." It rolls out at the premiere of Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey in New York.