Honda's stop-motion ad pitches no ordinary carmaker

Ad Age
September 20, 2015 – 1:00 pm ET

Honda is fueling its long-running “Power of Dreams” campaign with a major new investment. A new two-minute ad that spans the marketer’s products — from cars to boat motors — debuts Sunday during NFL games on CBS.

The spot, called “Paper,” weaves together roughly 3,000 hand-drawn illustrations using stop-motion filming that takes viewers through a paper-flipping, historical journey of Honda products.

Images include references to founder Soichiro Honda’s use of a radio generator to power his wife’s bike, Honda’s motorcycle development and multiple shots of cars past and present, including the new 2016 Pilot vehicle.

The ad agency behind the creative work is RPA.

While “Power of Dreams” spots have run on TV in the U.S. and globally off and on for many years, the newest ad represents a major new commitment to Honda’s corporate branding campaign.

Two-minute ads are fairly rare — and expensive, especially during NFL programming. The ad targets North American audiences but is suitable to run globally, said Tom Peyton, assistant vice president of marketing for American Honda Motor Co.

The ad is meant to illustrate that “Honda isn’t just your run-of-the mill car manufacturer. This is a really terrific, innovative high technology company that produces terrific premium products,” Peyton said.

The spot, he added, “will help the rest of our more car-centric advertising when people understand that this is a company that is a lot more than just a car company.”

The message will not come cheap. As Ad Age recently reported, CBS is asking for around $ 637,415 per 30-second unit for its national late game.

Honda’s ad will air during four of the early games (1 p.m ET) and consume an entire commercial pod, according to Peyton.

The price for early games has a lot of variance, depending on market size and matchups, but media forecasting service SQAD NetCost estimates the price at $ 300,887 per 30 seconds.

Honda will run the same ad during shows such as ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” new Fox programs “Rosewood” and “Minority Report” and “Blue Bloods” on CBS, as well as during ESPN’s Saturday night college football broadcast.

In October, a 60-second version will air on NBC, CBS, Fox and ABC.

Honda will support the ad digitally with an interactive version that allows viewers to click on each product to reveal its “history and significance to Honda,” according to a statement.

The marketer will tout the spot on social media, including teaser clips on Instagram and Vine.

The ad was shot by a stop-motion artist who goes by the name Pes (full name Adam Pesapane). His videos include 2013’s “Fresh Guacamole,” which was nominated for an Academy Award in the best animated short category.

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