Honda has been producing some technical beauties in its advertising of late. First we had mcGarrybowen London and Chris Palmer’s neverending ad for the CR-V, and now Wieden + Kennedy London has teamed up with director Johnny Hardstaff to create a spot for the Civic which aims to emphasise how the brand’s precision engineering can add up to an emotional ride…
“Wieden + Kennedy wanted to capture the experience of driving a Honda, and how every split second is honed, tweaked and considered,” says Hardstaff of the brief. “They imagined three distinct scenarios for each model and we ran with that.”
Hardstaff worked closely with post-production house MPC to create the unusual film, which features slowed-down, forensically detailed shots mixed with high-octane driving footage. Despite its tech-heavy look though, the ad was mostly shot in-camera.
“In order to craft this almost frozen experience, I dragged the hi-speed Bolt camera arm across Spain in mostly horrendous winter weather and stuck it up mountains and the like, shooting repeat passes and using it as a makeshift motion control rig, which is clearly not what it is intended for,” continues Hardstaff. “I wanted to do as much in-camera as possible, which leaves you at the mercy of disobedient goldfinches in a remote Spanish valley. But MPC took all those passes and rather brilliantly wove them together, working in some beautifully crafted CGI elements. It’s one of those jobs where the process is arduous, but throughout you’re trying to keep it light and seemingly effortless in-camera.”
The spot is shamelessly a car ad – somewhat unusual for Honda, which has built a reputation for quirky films where the vehicles often don’t feature. But its style and approach makes it stand out. “The thing with the majority of contemporary car advertising is that it’s unnecessarily dull and repetitive,” says Hardstaff. “Wieden + Kennedy and Honda have clearly been bucking that trend for some time now, as has the very lovely mcgarrybown/Chris Palmer looping spot.
“We wanted to show a lot of car, but that’s no barrier to making what is hopefully a compelling spot. I’m not sure if coldness is inherent in technology, but more and more I like trying to imbue technology with warmth. Hopefully that comes through a touch in the finished picture.”
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative director: Scott Dungate
Creatives: Ben Shaffery, Max Batten
ECDs: Tony Davidson, Kim Papworth, Iain Tait
Director: Johnny Hardstaff
Production company: RSA (Hardstaff is now repped by Academy Films)