RPA’s First Acura Work

New TV spots for Honda’s Acura luxury-car unit aim for unity and an emotional connection with prospective buyers.
The spots are the first from longtime Honda agency Rubin Postaer and Associates since the Santa Monica, Calif., shop won the $150 million account last summer.
Two spots introduce the new luxury-performance CL coupe. All ads are designed to redefine Acura, launched in 1986 as an “intercept brand” to catch buyers upgrading from a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry to a BMW or Mercedes.
Acura faced competition from Japanese rivals, and BMW and Mercedes offered lower prices to thwart Acura.
RPA’s campaign strives to present Acura as an “aspirational/destination brand” akin to BMW and Mercedes, said agency vice president, account director Pen Pendleton.
“We were being in the middle and weren’t being successful,” said Acura advertising manager Rob Alen.
The four 30-second spots, which start breaking Feb. 27, open with shots of a turning ignition key and the names of destinations–such as New Orleans or Key Largo–shown onscreen. In the desert, Florida Keys or New Orleans scenarios, drivers appear to enjoy the drive as much as the locales. Car features appear in such copy as “Listen to your heart. On a six-speaker Bose sound system.” Music includes a rock update of “Viva Las Vegas” in a spot for the Integra GS-R.
“We knew we couldn’t out-BMW BMW or out-Lexus Lexus,” Pendleton said. The goal is to give Acura an image that transcends specific models.
There is no tag. Prior ads by Suissa Miller here also used no tagline.
“Past ads did a good job of giving technical information, but lacked heart,” said RPA creative director Wendi Knox, who produced Honda ads along with co-creative director Mark Erwin before the two were put on the Acura account. Both worked on Acura when it was at Ketchum.
Spending was undisclosed. Ads run through July.