Honda Pilot Commercial Strikes A Familiar Chord

Honda Pilot

Honda is launching its redesigned Pilot SUV with a campaign from longtime ad agency of record Santa Monica, Calif.-based RPA.

The new 30-second spot focuses on style and utility as it pertains to taking a road trip. The campaign also calls out the fact that the Pilot has three rows of seats, enough for eight people. The new model of the crossover has superficial similarities to the 2011 version and is still available in LX, EX, EX-L and Touring trim levels. It also has a simplified front grille.

The big changes, however, are less obvious: sound insulation, standard acoustic windshield glass and  better fuel efficiency, ranging from 25/18 mpg for the front-wheel drive model to 17/24 mpg for all-wheel.

The TV spot shows the vehicle traversing a desert on a lonely highway. The Pilot has eight passengers, all bored out of their skulls and staring across the barren landscape. Suddenly, a boy in the third row starts humming the initial notes of Ozzy Osbourne's ”Crazy Train.” The other passengers follow, adding drumbeats and sound effects, lifting everyone's spirits. Tag: "Smarter Thinking."



Honda says the spot will air during prime network programming such as “Dancing With the Stars,” “Big Bang Theory,” “The Biggest Loser” and the BCS National Championship.

Aside from TV, the spot will appear on Honda’s Web site and on YouTube and in-theater during November, particularly during the highly trafficked Thanksgiving weekend. The effort started with banners and home page takeovers of YouTube and Print ads are in a variety of titles like National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and Shape. The print ads are in a "roasted-plum" background and describe everyday adventures.

The vehicle last benefited from a major campaign with the introduction of the 2009 model, introduced with a “Ride Ready” ad theme touting Pilot's functionality. The effort targeted families comprising 30- to 45-year-old parents with two or more children.

The Pilot was a bright spot in Honda's September sales numbers. Though the eponymous division showed an 8.2% decline versus last September, Honda trucks posted sales of 41,375, an increase of 7% largely due to the CR-V, Pilot and Odyssey. Honda said CR-V was the top-selling model for September, while Pilot posted a sales increase of 27.9% on sales of 10,306.

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