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

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.


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

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