RPA, Honda Play Board Games

LOS ANGELES Independent RPA has launched an initiative for American Honda Motors that includes the agency’s first use of three-dimensional billboards.

The boards, sporting what look like inflated airbags, form the correct-facing and reverse “C”s in Civic. The copy alludes to the vehicle’s six standard airbags.

The boards, constructed by RPA’s print department, use inflatable bladders and light materials that allow them to flutter slightly in the wind.

“We wanted it to look as realistic as possible,” said Nathan Crow, senior art director at the Santa Monica, Calif.-based shop. “We want the billboards to distinguish themselves among the madness and mess of advertising.”

Highlighting the “Cs” gave the creative team the chance to exploit the “Civic” palindrome that has become the icon of the “Reverse your thinking” campaign.

The simplicity of the Honda-leased billboard, erected south of Carson along the 405 freeway, extends to the spare copy: “Six airbags, standard.”

“Over six words can be too long [for outdoor],” said Eric Helin, copywriter. “In a sense we shortened the message to one word, but made it really big.”

Torrance, Calif.-based Honda spent $100 million advertising the Civic last year, and $65 million through May, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.