Lately, Honda drivers have been going nowhere fast. And their strange travels have yielded some memorably unusual advertising.
First, the automaker took us on a CR-V journey that wouldn't end. Now, in "Feeling," Wieden + Kennedy London radically slows down various Civics as they cruise through city and country. In this nearly frozen world, engineers attend to every conceivable aspect of the ride, from arranging raindrops, birds and butterflies outside the cars' windows to manipulating drivers' hands on the steering wheels and gear shifts.
"One of the most important things for Honda engineers when designing a new car is that it feels great to drive," W+K's Max Batten tells Adweek. "We thought this would be a good story to tell for the Civic." Thematically, he adds, "this campaign is about linking the Civic to those split-second moments where driving can be so satisfying."
Impeccably shot by Johnny Hardstaff via RSA Films, with impressive effects from MPC, the ad is initially disorienting, even a tad creepy. (Unhand me, engineer!) Still, it rewards repeat viewings with great details like a magnificent horse romping ridiculously s-l-o-o-o-l-y in a field beside one of the cars.
"We wanted to create a world that draws the viewer in and rewards them for noticing all the details in the storytelling," says Batten. "The surreal quality is something we really liked."
Production was no picnic. "It involved a huge amount of planning," Batten says. "All the action was shot in layers, which were combined at MPC. The frozen elements were created using a combination of slow-motion filming and CGI. The shots had to be incredibly precise, and Johnny did a fantastic job bringing it all together."
Ultimately, "Feeling" and other recent Honda films like "Endless Road," "Illusions" and "The Other Side" follow the roadmap for offbeat, memorable excursions—something the brand established a dozen years ago with its trend-setting "Cog" commercial.
"It's always good to shake things up, especially in a category that's rife with clichés," says Batten. "One of Honda's strengths is that they want to make work which stands out."
Client: Honda Europe
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy London
Creative director: Scott Dungate
Copywriters: Ben Shaffery, Max Batten
Executive creative directors: Tony Davidson, Kim Papworth, Iain Tait
Agency executive producer: Danielle Stewart
Group account director: Nick Owen
Account director: Alex Budenberg
Account manager: Maria Kofoed
Head of planning: Beth Bentley
Planning director: Martin Beverly
TV producer: Michelle Brough
TV production assistant: Tom Dean
Production company: RSA Films
Director: Johnny Hardstaff
Executive producer: Kai Hsiung
Line producer: Annabel Ridley
Director of photography: Martin Ruhe
Editorial company: Work Post
Editor: Art Jones
VFX company: MPC
VFX supervisors: Adam Crocker, Anthony Bloor
Flame artist: Adam Crocker
VFX producer: Dionne Archibald
Lead 3D: Anthony Bloor
Colorist: Jean¬Clément Soret
Music and sound company: Nate Connolly, Mutant Jukebox
Sound designer: Sam Ashwell
Sound studio: 750mph
Producers: Shervin Shaeri, Mutant Jukebox
Mix company: 750mph
Mixer: Sam Ashwell
Producers: Sam Robinson, Mary-Ann D'Cruz