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)
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
Photographer: John Offenbach
Production Company: Mark George
Retouchers: Stanleys Post
CGI Model: The Mill