Honda Jazz: This Unpredictable Life

Wieden + Kennedy London has created a stunning new animated ad, directed by Smith & Foulkes, to advertise the new, (supposedly) improved Honda Jazz car.

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Wieden + Kennedy London has created a stunning new animated ad, directed by Smith & Foulkes, to advertise the new, (supposedly) improved Honda Jazz car.

Titled This Unpredictable Life, the spot aims to depict the numerous joys and challenges that we encounter through our lives, and articulate that the Honda Jazz car is engineered to cope with these changing demands. Smith & Foulkes, who also created the animated setting of the celebrated Honda Grrr ad back in 2004, have constructed a surreal rolling landscape to depict the journey of life, with all its potential ups and downs. Various characters, including children, partners and pets are shown, along with imagery of the mountains of stuff we accumulate through life, all of which is shown to fit perfectly, of course, into a series of endless car seats. In fact, the only slight disappointment visually is when the humdrum form of the Jazz itself is shoe-horned into the luscious vista at the end of the ad, bringing everything back down to earth. (Yes, we are aware of the irony of that statement.)

The spot is released on TV tomorrow and is accompanied by an iPhone app, which will also be available via iTunes from tomorrow. The app, as the film above explains, contains one particularly striking innovation – the ability for users to ‘grab’ characters from the TV screen (or computer, depending on where you are watching the ad) by swiping the iPhone at it, Nintendo Wii-style. The characters can then be interacted with – for example, a space monkey character can be made to dance by singing into your phone. Should you want to.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative directors: Sam Heath, Chris Groom
Production: Nexus Productions
Directors: Smith & Foulkes
App creatives (W+K): Duncan Bone, Kate Harrison, Will Hooke
Interactive producer (W+K): Dom Tunon
App director, product management (Gravity Mobile): Jeff Benson
App senior software developers (Gravity Mobile): Zac White, Adam Wolf



  • APJ

    An unoriginal idea beautifully executed…

  • Anon

    How exactly does the iPhone app know that you are watching the ad? Or is this a fake feature & it actually just shows characters whenever you swing the phone?

  • hoots

    Oh the Places You’ll go!
    Dr Seuss

  • tom

    The iPhone app knows you are watching the ad using sound-synch technology – putting an audio fingerprint on the ad’s soundtrack

  • @Anon

    I believe it’s using Sonic Watermarking, similar to this app on iPad

    (though I could be wrong)

  • guest

    App listens to the sound track to lock onto the timeline of the add – then gives you characters if you ‘catch’ them at the right time.

  • Nicely done, but it’s nowhere near Grrr… which is still one of the finest ads of all time.

  • Quite a misleading ad (no-one under 70 seems to drive a Honda Jazz!). I do appreciate the quality animation though.

  • Monique

    Not everything that Smith & Foulkes do can be a masterpiece. This is nowhere near a masterpiece. For them it’s quite average, but it’s still a cut above so much rubbish out there. It’s the central idea that lets it down so badly. Pretty colours though!

  • Rolf

    Really nice. Why do Creatives moan and pick at good work all the time. This ad really is a quality piece of work, very well produced. I cannot understand how there is critisizm for work like this. Its outstanding. The Jazz is driven by over 70’s – fair point… but I’m sure this is targeted at a different generation.

  • James

    I agree. This is such an exciting innovation. The merging of traditional TV advertising and the next generation of technology users.

    Very forward thinking.

  • Woo hoo!! Flights of fancy!
    Exactly what fuzzy demographic is this ad aimed at chaps?
    Certainly not the current Honda Jazz users, who appear to be a whimsical 70 at least!
    And lets face it, you’ve certainly been around the block, and know what life had in store for you at that age hmm!
    Are Honda in cloud cuckoo land?
    Or is it an inscrutably clever ruse to get the grey market to buy their grandsons their first cars…and be just like grandpa. YAY!

  • MGC

    Brief. Honda Jazz is mostly bought by pensioners. We want to aim younger.

    Agency. OK. Let’s make an ad’ that details how the Jazz can cater for the needs of young families. Oh and we’ll create an iPhone app that will appeal to those people and their kids too thus prompting further buzz within our desired new audience.

    Creative Review Forum Smart Arses: Honda Jazz is only bought by 70 year olds. This ad is to young for 70 year olds. It doesn’t work.

    Miss the point of a re-positioning campaign much?

  • Josh G

    Ok TV ad. Dont know what the iPhone-app is doing there.

  • Fathers of young families are tired, overworked and generally near sheer exhaustion.

    They already feel like they’re 70…
    Why would they want to look like they’re 70 as well?

  • Simon Thompson

    All its missing is the Lloyds theme tune… Beautiful execution, very average concept.

  • I have to agree with some of the previous comments that the typical Jazz driver is well into the latter part of their ‘life journey’. But if it’s a good car why shouldn’t Honda target a younger age group to buck the current trend.

  • mrbiscuit

    I could only catch the dog :(

  • kshields00

    It’s Honda’s take on the John Lewis ad – lovely animation…

  • TH Rochester

    Nicely done but overlong. Must have cost a fortune, and I think half of it is pure indulgence and a waste of the client’s money.

  • Hayley

    Absolutely beautifully executed ad. Gorgeous colour palette. Don’t know why there are so many haters! I don’t think people realise the time, hard work and talent that goes into a production like this.

  • Devilgate

    Looks lovely. Sounds lovely. For the next generation of Jazz drivers, probably very nice. But my feeling is, the newly moved in residents of nappy valley, would rather have the Civic. I like the very simple app. Someone asked why it’s there. I’d guess because the client asked for an app. Only very loosely based on the what life throws at us idea, which is great. Throwing -> Catching. Why get more complicated than that? Damn you Wieden & Kennedy for crafting things better than the average agency. I bet everyone here would be chuffed if it was on their reel. Only criticism is the brief for me. Honda Jazz. For your unpredictable life, who knows what life will throw, etc. Jesus, planners are getting more lazy, and worse at strategy as time goes on.

  • Paul

    I think this is a good example of how new technology should not be the basis of an idea, but another platform the idea can work with. For me I just think the app is pointless and pretty dull compared to plenty of other stuff out there. So why make it such a big part of the ad? And whilst the ad looks beautiful, it is a poor relation in terms of having something to say compared to what W+K have treated us to in the past.

  • Hugo

    That was so much fun to wait for an add to air and then catch things from itll! Amazing. Had to watch the whole of Gypsy weddings to do it though!

  • Jonny

    After watching the ad I still don’t know what a Honda Jazz looks like or why I should buy one. The product is totally overwhelmed by the idea. Feels like using tech for the sake of it.

  • karl foster

    What will the future bring? The end of the car that’s what.

  • Mr Suzuki


    Waste of money.

    Who is that bored and has nothing better to do than to want to catch character from a TV ad on their iPhone, if these people exist then this upsets me very much.

  • As an English designer who now lives in Australia I now have a deeper appreciation for good quality British advertising.

    We need more quality down here please!

    Not sure about the creative execution of this ad, but it is an improvement of many car ads downunder.

  • OPD

    Fortunately I don’t have an iphone but I often wonder… do people not feel like complete morons using the iphone apps?

    I can’t imagine a more pointless existence than one spent shaking one’s phone around and poking the little on screen characters.

    Please, someone design an iphone app with some useful purpose….

  • George

    Could anybody tell me what does this video say in last sentence? I coudn’t understand!

  • A good ad in my opinion, agree about the general market for Honda Jazz but clearly they are looking to expand it hence the almost diversifying of the brand through this campaign

  • Great ,10x