Talking Celebrity Yearbook Photos Encourage You to Chase Your Dreams in Honda’s Super Bowl Ad

Spot features Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Viola Davis and others

YouTube: Honda
Headshot of Christine Birkner

Everybody needs a little encouraging now and then when it comes to chasing their dreams, and in Honda’s Super Bowl ad, a cast of celebrities channel their humble adolescences that probably were a lot like yours—bad hairstyles, awkward phases and all—to motivate you.

The real high school yearbook photos of Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Amy Adams, Magic Johnson, Steve Carell, Missy Elliot, Stan Lee, Jimmy Kimmel and Viola Davis come to life in the 60-second spot, “Yearbooks,” by RPA., Honda’s agency of record. The ad will air during the first break of the second quarter of Fox’s Super Bowl broadcast.

In keeping with the ad’s theme, “the power of dreams,” the celebrities offer their advice for achieving your dreams. Elliot’s yearbook photo says, “If you want to make an album, make an album,” while comic book writer Stan Lee’s says, “If you want to make a universe, make a universe.”

“We chose this concept because it speaks so much to what Honda is about,” said Susie Rossick, assistant vice president of Honda Auto Marketing. “One of our founder’s platforms was ‘the power of dreams.’ We felt this ad fits really well into who Honda is, as far as chasing your dreams no matter what people tell you—keep trying, keep innovating and keep going. The celebrities are really communicating that in the spot.”

The ad promotes the 2017 Honda CR-V and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the SUV, which Honda first promoted at the 1997 Super Bowl. This year is the CR-V’s third appearance in the Super Bowl. Last year, Honda’s Super Bowl spot used a choir of sheep to promote its Ridgeline truck.

Honda also launched a social campaign, #PowerofDreams, through which the stars of the ad will offer inspiration in pursuing your goals. Today, Honda is running a #TBT (Throwback Thursday) effort for the campaign that will include the celebrities and 10 other influencers—athletes, musicians and comedians—sharing photos on social media of their younger selves and encouraging others to share their stories.

Honda will continue to run the TV spot in some markets during the Oscars, followed by a new set of ads for the CR-V that also will discuss making dreams a reality.

So far, the ad’s message seems to be catching on. The teaser with Steve Carell Honda launched earlier in the week on social media has garnered 1.6 million views on Facebook.

“The idea of having a dream and not giving up on it resonates with people, and each one of these celebrities, in their own way, communicates that,” Rossick said. “We’re really excited to see the reaction to it on Super Bowl Sunday.”

@ChristineBirkne Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.