Rubin Postaer & Associates will pull out some fancy driving moves this week as it introduces the 1994 Accord from American Honda Motor Co. with the biggest launch ever - an estimated $24 million in spending between December.
Abandoning the smug tones of past campaigns, the shop broke tradition and launched the campaign with a value-for-money mantra that focuses on its price - unchanged despite the increases in the Japanese yen. Subsequent spots will try to fight off Honda's reputation for middling style and attract a younger audience without distancing the Accord's traditional consumer market.
Rubin Postaer co-principal and creative director Larry Postaer called the introduction the biggest launch ever for Accord. There will be seven commercials in the first wave, including spots carrying ecological and 'Made in America' themes, and another portraying the new model as fun to drive.
The commercial that leads off the first flight features an old Accord driving off a showroom floor with a new model pulling in behind it. The sticker peels off the first car and gently affixes itself to the second, 'the only thing that hasn't changed' about the 1994 vehicle. Postaer called the spot 'as graceful a way to say 'we are value' as we could think of.'
Dealers who previewed the work in Las Vegas late last week were thrilled. 'It's tremendous,' said Ron Jackson, president of the Southern California Honda Dealers Association. 'These are ads the factory has never taken before - they're going to be showing prices . . . in a national ad campaign.'
Jackson said the campaign provided a boost in morale to the dealers assembled at the meeting. 'I think Honda just has to come out and combat what's being said about them,' he said. 'We've always been the mark everybody's trying to knock down, and Honda is going to talk about that this year.'
The 1994-model Accord, on which Honda officials have bluntly said rests the future of the car company, rolls out into an entirely different market from the one it owned through the 1980s. With Ford's Taurus now holding the U.S. best-seller title, and nearly every other automaker offering competitive models, the Accord's success may rest heavily on the success of its ad campaign.
'The great fear is that people are going to look around and say, 'Other people have what you have, and in addition to that, you're a bit of a brown shoe,' said an analyst who asked that his name not be used.
That possibility has not gone unnoticed at Honda and Rubin Postaer. This year, for the first time in seven years, the Accord will launch with a tagline, 'A car ahead.'
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)