RPA Breaks Honda Ads

Dogs, Celebrity Imagery Hype Models
LOS ANGELES–Rubin Postaer & Associates trades in last year’s family armed with lawyers for a family of dogs dressed as people in new TV ads for Honda’s Odyssey minivan.
Spots in the estimated $40 million Odyssey campaign, as well as ads for other Honda models, broke during Sunday’s NFL telecasts and will run throughout the 2000 model year. The work is the first from RPA, Santa Monica, Calif., since it picked up Honda’s $125 million Acura division account in July.
The three 30-second Odyssey spots employ the pooch-posing skills of William Wegman, who makes his commercial debut dressing up a family of weimaraners like a typical family.
The ads, joined by print, interactive and point-of-sale executions, all carry last year’s tagline, “It’s one big happy minivan,” delivered via a Richard Dreyfuss voiceover.
Why dogs? “It enabled us to demonstrate aspects of the car in a way that wasn’t stereotypical,” said RPA evp/director of creative services Larry Postaer.
Other highlights include a trio of 30-second TV ads in which a Jane Goodall-type observes men who have taken a CR-V sport utility vehicle on a camping trip. One spot for the Honda Accord sedan features a cutout of Robert Wagner that mugs a valet just to drive the car.
Spots for Honda’s Civic target first-time car buyers, while an ad for the new S2000 Roadster plays up the vehicle’s push-button ignition.
Total spending was undisclosed. Honda, Torrance, Calif., spent $311 million advertising its cars and trucks in 1998 and $210 million through June 1999, per Competitive Media Reporting.