Ad of the Day: W+K Shoots for the Stars in Grand ‘Ignition’ Film for Honda

Brand celebrates 'daring and human endeavor'

We have "Ignition."

That's the title of Wieden + Kennedy London's new pan-European campaign for Honda, which uses spaceflight as a visual metaphor for bold innovation.

Actually, the metaphors are mightily mixed in the campaign's launch film, which packs plenty of imagery and action into its 90-second run time, referencing Honda's heritage across consumer automobiles, Formula 1 racing, aviation, robotics and more.

"We wanted something that encapsulated a feeling of daring and human endeavor," W+K creative director Scott Dungate tells Adweek. "Space travel is perhaps the biggest expression of this, so we thought creating a story that revolved around the anticipation of a rocket launch felt like an entertaining way to dramatize the 'challenging spirit' that runs through Honda and its products."

Asimo the robot makes an appearance, as does McLaren-Honda driver Jenson Button. At one point, the voice of the late Formula 1 icon Ayrton Senna is heard. There's a spacey convoy of Honda vehicles—motorcycles, an HR-V, the highly anticipated Civic Type R and a jet plane—moving in moody slow motion at dawn, as if taxiing down some futuristic tarmac, preparing to blast off into the distant sunrise.

"We shot on an abandoned bridge in Kiev, [Ukraine]" says Dungate. "It was an epic shoot location, and aside from a little [visual-effects] clean-up on the bridge surface, what you see in the film is what existed, right down to the sun rising pretty much dead in the center of the runway."

The family inside the HR-V wears custom-made astronaut/racing-crew gear, and the soundtrack features some of the classical selections from the audio disc launched into deep space on the Voyager 1 space probe. No Chuck Berry, though.

"Dare to do the things others only dream of," is the tagline.

It's all a bit much, and impossible to fully absorb in one viewing. Still, the central image of the fleet of vehicles is impressive, the overall style compelling, and director Aoife McArdle's reach (for the stars) never exceeds her grasp.

"Inventive camera techniques allowed us to represent movement and the sensation of being in a rocket within any grounded Honda vehicle," McArdle says. "Taking inspiration from classic science fiction, this film was an exciting opportunity to be playful with visual perspective, gravity and atmosphere."

Print work below:


Client: Honda Motor Europe (HME)

Project: Ignition

Lead Clients: Jemma Jones & Jonathan Allee

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, London

Creative Director: Scott Dungate

Senior Creative Director: Kim Papworth

Executive Creative Directors: Tony Davidson, Iain Tait

Producer: James Laughton

Group Account Director: Nick Owen

Account Director: Alex Budenberg

Account Manager: Olivia Amato-Pace

Planner: Martin Beverley

Interactive Producer: Silvan Schreuder

Creative Producer: Mark D'Abreo

Design Director: Karen Jane

Designer: Sanket Avlani

Production Company: Somesuch

Director: Aoife McArdle

Executive Producer: Sally Campbell

Line Producer: James Waters

Director of Photography: John Lynch

Art Dept: David Lee

Wardrobe: Jane Petrie

Editorial Company: Final Cut London

Editor: Dan Sherwen

Producer: Frankie Elster

VFX Company: The Mill

Producer: Gemma Humphries

VFX Supervisor: Dan Adams (2D) & Jonathan Wood (3D)

Music+Sound Company: Factory Studios & Siren @ Factory Ltd

Composer: Walter Mair via Siren

Sound Designer: Anthony Moore

Song 1: Peter Pan Orchestra & Chorus – A Trip on a Rocket Ship

Song 2: Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No.5 in C via Imagem PM

Song 3: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Queen of the Night Aria from the Magic Flute via Imagem PM

Print Production:

Photographer: John Offenbach

Production Company: Mark George

Retouchers: Stanleys Post

CGI Model: The Mill

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.