RPA Redefines Acura

Honda Nameplate Becomes a ‘Destination’
LOS ANGELES–Four new TV spots for American Honda Motor Co.’s luxury Acura unit aim for unity and an emotional connection with prospective buyers.
The ads are the first from longtime Honda shop Rubin Postaer and Associates, Santa Monica, Calif., since it won the $150 million account last summer.
Two spots introduce the luxury-performance CL coupe. All ads are designed to redefine Acura as an “aspirational/destination brand” like BMW or Mercedes, said vp, account director Pen Pendleton. Acura was launched in 1986 as an “intercept brand” to catch buyers upgrading to those premium brands from Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys.
“We were being in the middle and weren’t being successful,” said Acura ad manager Rob Alen.
The 30-second spots, which start breaking Feb. 27 and air through July, feature Acura drivers cruising such destinations as the desert, the Florida Keys and New Orleans. Car features are outlined in voiceovers; a rock update of “Viva Las Vegas” is used in a spot for the Integra GSR.
“We couldn’t out-BMW BMW or out-Lexus Lexus,” Pendleton said. The goal is to give Acura an image that transcends specific models.
As with the last round of ads, including an image spot by former agency Suissa Miller, there is no tag.
“Past ads did a good job of giving technical information, but lacked heart,” said RPA creative director Wendi Knox.
Spending was undisclosed.