Honda Launches Image Campaign

LOS ANGELES American Honda Motors on Monday launched its first national broadcast corporate image campaign in two years with a “Power of Dreams” spot, dedicated microsite and print ads.

The 30-second spot, directed by Phil Joanou under independent RPA Honda lead creatives David Smith and Joe Baratelli, shows Honda jet planes, solar racers, test-track racing and safety researchers, all in home video-style movement to The Who’s “I Can See for Miles.”

The climax of the spot, seen first in a window reflection of Honda’s prototype FCX hydrogen fuel-cell car, is that the video images are “shot” by Asimo, Honda’s walking robot. Tagline: “See what we see.”

It’s the first time the Torrance, Calif.-based automaker has used national advertising for corporate image since the “Safety for everyone” campaign in October 2005.

Todd Carey, vp, associate creative director at RPA, Santa Monica, Calif., described the spot as “Honda home movies, as shot by family member. Our desire was to show what Honda is working on, from an engineering standpoint, and the human side as well.” He said the ad facilitates an emotional connection with Honda engineering.

Asimo was introduced to Honda’s advertising about five years ago, said Barbara Ponce, Honda’s manager of corporate advertising. “Using home video brings Asimo into the story but in a real way,” she said. “The home video brings Honda technology to the customer in a manner that isn’t overproduced or contrived. What you see is what you get. It underscores the importance of authenticity to our brand.”

The campaign originated via an “organic process” of multiple interviews with people at Honda, Carey said. “Through the conversations, we started to hear the same things: No matter who we talk to, no matter what project, there was a shared vision.” He said a conversation with a passionate Honda engineer inspired the campaign to warmly show the Honda world through their eyes.

Ponce added that a key distinction between Honda’s engineering focus and, for example, BMW’s, was that Honda’s approach “is more from the human side [than the performance side].”

Ponce said the “longer-term, philosophical” approach showing the “human engineering” side of the company, is unique.

AHM sales, excluding the Acura division, are up 4 percent on the year through August to 944,000 units, per Car Concepts, Thousand Oaks, Calif. Ponce declined to estimate the media spending on the corporate campaign.