Ad of the Day: Honda Stretches Your Face in Fun, Trippy Launch Spot for HR-V

Looking for that perfect fit

Conventional wisdom says millennials don't buy a lot of new cars. They're too busy playing with their iPhones. Or they're ideologically opposed to gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing automobiles.

Conventional wisdom is often wrong, however. And American Honda Motor Co. will try to prove it with the rollout of the all-new HR-V subcompact crossover SUV, supported by a couple of eye-catching new commercials from RPA.

Along with rivals such as the Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax, the HR-V will take dead aim at Gen Y consumers in their 20s and 30s. Sometimes called "city utes," these mini SUVs are easier to park on crowded streets and get better mileage. Most important, they're cheap.

The HR-V starts at less than $20,000. That makes a big difference to younger consumers struggling with murky job prospects and student loan debt.

And guess what? Honda sold out its first month's supply of HR-Vs in two weeks. Even if millennials in big cities like New York aren't car shopping, those in the rest of the country definitely are, said Tom Peyton, Honda's assistant vp of advertising.

"I've got news for you. If you go to the suburbs of Chicago, they want a car," Peyton said.

To lure this audience, Honda is launching a lighthearted new HR-V commercial from RPA called "Give and Take." It shows young people who are magically able to adjust their own noses, ears, foreheads and eyebrows.

"What if you could find that sweet spot? Where everything is just the way you want?" asks the voiceover. "Introducing the crossover that gets it all right."

Peyton said the spot has a "youthful, fun, more millennial feel." Nick Lee, Honda's national brand manager, said "Give and Take" will be part of a wide-ranging campaign that will include a more heritage-driven HR-V TV spot titled "Great Thinking Inside," along with a clever fold-over print ad as well as digital banners (see below).

Both spots were directed by Smith & Foulkes, the Nexus duo who have a long and acclaimed history working on Honda ads through Wieden + Kennedy London, from 2003's "Grrr" to 2013's "Hands" and 2014's "Inner Beauty."

Jason Sperling, executive creative director at RPA, said he wanted to create an "attention-getting" spot because the HR-V is essentially pioneering a new car category.

"We're talking to people who are probably in their mid-20s," he added.

The print work:

The digital work:

CREDITS

Client: American Honda Motor

HR-V Campaign Credits

Spots: "Great Thinking Inside," :60; "Give and Take," :50

Agency: RPA

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer: Joe Baratelli

Senior Vice President, Executive Creative Director: Jason Sperling

Vice President, Creative Director, Copywriter: Ken Pappanduros

Vice President, Creative Director, Art Director: Chuck Blackwell

Senior Copywriter: Paul Fung

Senior Art Director: Marcella Coad

Senior Copywriters (for "Great Thinking Inside"): Audrey Attal, Forrest Boleyn

Copywriter ("Give and Take"): Adam Gothelf

Art Director ("Give and Take"): Michael Enriquez

Senior Vice President, Chief Production Officer: Gary Paticoff

Vice President, Executive Producer: Isadora Chesler

Producer: Matthew Magsaysay

Vice President, Director of Business Affairs: Maria Del Homme

Executive Vice President, Management Account Director: Brett Bender

Vice President, Account Director, National/Corporate Advertising: Jeff Moohr

Vice President, Management Supervisor: Cathy O'Gorman

Management Supervisor: Rose McRitchie

Account Supervisor: Patty Mira

Production Company: Nexus

Directors: Smith & Foulkes

Executive Producer: Tracey Cooper

Executive Producer ("Give and Take"): Jeremy Smith

Line Producer ("Give and Take"): Max Fink

Production Manager ("Great Thinking Inside"): Fernanda Garcia Lopez

Postproduction ("Great Thinking Inside"): Time Based Arts