Ad of the Day: Honda Perfects Split-Second Moments of Driving in Stunning Civic Spot

Engineering a feeling

Lately, Honda drivers have been going nowhere fast. And their strange travels have yielded some memorably unusual advertising.

First, the automaker took us on a CR-V journey that wouldn't end. Now, in "Feeling," Wieden + Kennedy London radically slows down various Civics as they cruise through city and country. In this nearly frozen world, engineers attend to every conceivable aspect of the ride, from arranging raindrops, birds and butterflies outside the cars' windows to manipulating drivers' hands on the steering wheels and gear shifts.

"One of the most important things for Honda engineers when designing a new car is that it feels great to drive," W+K's Max Batten tells Adweek. "We thought this would be a good story to tell for the Civic." Thematically, he adds, "this campaign is about linking the Civic to those split-second moments where driving can be so satisfying."

Impeccably shot by Johnny Hardstaff via RSA Films, with impressive effects from MPC, the ad is initially disorienting, even a tad creepy. (Unhand me, engineer!) Still, it rewards repeat viewings with great details like a magnificent horse romping ridiculously s-l-o-o-o-l-y in a field beside one of the cars.

"We wanted to create a world that draws the viewer in and rewards them for noticing all the details in the storytelling," says Batten. "The surreal quality is something we really liked."

Production was no picnic. "It involved a huge amount of planning," Batten says. "All the action was shot in layers, which were combined at MPC. The frozen elements were created using a combination of slow-motion filming and CGI. The shots had to be incredibly precise, and Johnny did a fantastic job bringing it all together."

Ultimately, "Feeling" and other recent Honda films like "Endless Road," "Illusions" and "The Other Side" follow the roadmap for offbeat, memorable excursions—something the brand established a dozen years ago with its trend-setting "Cog" commercial.

"It's always good to shake things up, especially in a category that's rife with clichés," says Batten. "One of Honda's strengths is that they want to make work which stands out."

CREDITS

Client: Honda Europe

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy London

Creative director: Scott Dungate

Copywriters: Ben Shaffery, Max Batten

Executive creative directors: Tony Davidson, Kim Papworth, Iain Tait

Agency executive producer: Danielle Stewart

Group account director: Nick Owen

Account director: Alex Budenberg

Account manager: Maria Kofoed

Head of planning: Beth Bentley

Planning director: Martin Beverly

TV producer: Michelle Brough

TV production assistant: Tom Dean

Production company: RSA Films

Director: Johnny Hardstaff

Executive producer: Kai Hsiung

Line producer: Annabel Ridley

Director of photography: Martin Ruhe

Editorial company: Work Post

Editor: Art Jones

VFX company: MPC

VFX supervisors: Adam Crocker, Anthony Bloor

Flame artist: Adam Crocker

VFX producer: Dionne Archibald

Lead 3D: Anthony Bloor

Colorist: Jean¬Clément Soret

Music and sound company: Nate Connolly, Mutant Jukebox

Sound designer: Sam Ashwell

Sound studio: 750mph

Producers: Shervin Shaeri, Mutant Jukebox

Mix company: 750mph

Mixer: Sam Ashwell

Producers: Sam Robinson, Mary-Ann D'Cruz