Every year, Honda comes up with something new for the dreaded year-end sale campaign, which usually involves bottom-funnel ads with ribbons. Honda has traditionally given this campaign moment as much weight as it does the usual top-funnel campaigns.
This time around there are five TV ads whose creative is a concatenation of live action, miniature sets and matte paintings. The result is a fanciful roulade of revelers in cities, country, snow, mountains, desert, and ice. Honda, on the brand level, has often experimented with highly stylized creative, most recently with its “Paper” campaign. As with that effort, the new ads show human hands busy toying about within a Honda handcrafted world.
The campaign, via agency-of-record Santa Monica, Calif.-based RPA, shows hands opening little doors in a “Happy Honda Days” wooden house. We travel through them into a stylized world of whimsical winter landscapes, in which people — and their Hondas — celebrate the holidays, a blend of real and artifice, all in holiday card pastels. At some point in each of the spots, something or someone from the inner world extends into the “real” world, or vice versa. In one case, a skier flies out of the little world, onto the hand.
Honda says the campaign is meant to transcend the pure sales-drive push, to “celebrate an amazing year for the brand, boost end-of-year sales by breaking through the seasonal advertising clutter and driving traffic.”
Honda and RPA's fascination with fantasy with a certain whimsical quality, which has paid off in plaudits, include an October spot in which we experience a boy’s own dreams about cars from his fantastic perspective.
The automaker says the new spots will air on network TV placements scheduled on programs like “Gotham,” “Scandal,” “The Flash” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” and national cable networks such as Bravo, TBS, TNT and USA. The ads are also on NFL on CBS and NCAA on ESPN.