Old Sheep Learn New Tricks in Honda’s Amusing Super Bowl Commercial

RPA gives the Ridgeline a woolly rendition of a Queen classic

There's been a somewhat surprising scarcity of animal-themed Super Bowl teasers—and actual spots—this season. (RIP, Budweiser puppy.) But Honda and RPA have rounded up some talented sheep to help change that.

The automaker on Monday released its 2016 Super Bowl spot, advertising the 2017 Honda Ridgeline, coming this spring. And one feature of the truck in particular will have prospective buyers—and barnyard animals everywhere—singing its praises. Quite literally.

See the spot, directed by Hungry Man's Bryan Buckley, here:

Yes, the new Ridgeline, has a truck-bed audio system that uses so-called "exciters" to turn the whole bed into a giant outdoor speaker. Honda is pushing that single feature in the Super Bowl campaign, including the 60-second spot in which sheep belt out Queen's "Somebody to Love," choir style, when the farmer isn't around.

"It's a very unique feature," Honda's avp of marketing, Tom Peyton, told Adweek last week in an interview. "Nobody else has it. And it's a little tough to communicate—although we will in some advertising later this spring, when the truck's at the dealers. It's not actually speakers. It's 'exciters' that makes the whole bed a speaker. It's pretty cool. … It would make a great tailgate vehicle."

That particular Queen song got a nice revival in December, when Jordan Smith performed it on NBC's The Voice in December. But Peyton also deadpanned: "It was the only song the sheep knew."

The humor is broad and cartoony, which Peyton says is just right for the environment. "We aren't the first come out with dogs or horses or puppies [on the Super Bowl]," he says. "But it is the one property where people truly tune in to see the commercials. And this is certainly playing to that type of content they're looking for."

Honda has only sat out a couple of Super Bowls over the past decade, and Peyton says it remains a solid investment if you have something special to sell.

"You only make the trip to the big game if you have a message that is noteworthy," he says. "And we firmly believe our return to the midsize truck market with a new, restyled Ridgeline is a great opportunity to get that message out. And we certainly think an investment in the Super Bowl is worthwhile." 

• For more Super Bowl 50 news, check out Adweek's Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.


Client: American Honda Motor Co.

Title: "A New Truck To Love"

Agency: RPA

EVP, CCO: Joe Baratelli  

SVP, ECD: Jason Sperling  

Creative Director/Art: Brent Singer  

Sr. Art Director: Matthew Pullen  

Sr. Art Director: Amy Servidea  

Sr. Copywriter: Chris Bradford  

Sr. Copywriter: Audrey Attal  

SVP, Chief Production Officer: Gary Paticoff  

VP, Executive Producer: Isadora Chesler  

Sr. Producer: Eva Ellis  

VP, Director of Business Affairs: Maria Del Homme  

EVP, Management Account Director: Brett Bender  

VP, Group Account Director: Adam Blankenship  

VP, Management Supervisor: Cathy O'Gorman  

Account Supervisor: Jacob Gentry  

Account Executive: Chris Varela  

Account Executive: Christina Contreras  

SVP, Group Strategic Planning Director: Christian Cocker  

Associate Director, Strategic Planning: Nargis Pirani  

Sr. Strategic Planner: Elissa Murch  

Program Manager: Melissa Heitman  


Production Company: Hungry Man

Director: Bryan Buckley

Executive Producer: Mino Jarjoura

Director of Photography: Scott Henriksen

Producer: Emily Skinner

Production Designer: David Skinner

Costume Designer: Michelle Martini

Editorial: Union Editorial

Editor: Jim Haygood

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