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Video: A Stupendous Honda Ad. But Did It Sell Any Cars?

Written by Gary North on November 11, 2013

Here is a stupendous video. It is stupendous because it was not produced through computers. It is 100% photography-based. It is an impressive achievement.

Question: What is an ad supposed to do?

Answer: sell something.

Say that you want to buy a new car. Is there anything in this ad that would persuade you to buy a Honda? Garrison Keillor’s voice-over on gas mileage?

It has had over 3 million views. But did it sell any cars?

I teach people about simple advertising techniques on my site, GaryNorth.com. No Honda executive joined my site. Too bad. Maybe I could have saved the company a lot of money by suggesting that they ask the ad agency one simple question, early: “What statistical evidence will you provide to prove that the ad brought in more net revenues than it cost us?”

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5 thoughts on “Video: A Stupendous Honda Ad. But Did It Sell Any Cars?

  1. We owned a VW diesel for 21 years. It returned 40 MPG around town and almost 50 MPG on the highway. Here is an ad which is loaded with visual tricks, and at the very end (if one is quick) tells the viewer that a diesel is available. Not good.
    The old Bert and Harry Peil (sp) ads won award after award, but…they didn't sell any beer! Gone and almost forgotten!

  2. If they'd started out dropping the info that it is diesel powered, they'd have had my FULL attention straightaway. The visuals, whether CG or live, do something.. amusing, sort of like a 3-D full colour high resplution MC Escher schtick. No hint, until the very end, of the diesel, no claims to fuel economy OR longevity.

    I'd trust Honda's engineering far more than Volksvagen's, yes theirs ran well.. when they did. Not known for long term reliability on either the engnines or the cars. Honda, on the other hand, has got a great reputation for both.
    Now if I could find out how to disable the onboard tracking/GPS/monitorying features almost certainly included, I could get REAL interested in such a ride.

  3. Since it is a diesel, and the EPA hates diesels due to higher efficiency, my guess is that the ad is for the Brits.

  4. Apparently Gary North either a) hasn't heard of brand management, or b) doesn't see any value in it. But this commercial– like many commercials commissioned by huge transnational businesses– is as much about brand management and *marketing* as it is about "selling*. That's why they have different titles– VP of Sales, VP of Marketing– and not just VP of Salesandmarketing.

  5. Bill McCroskey says:

    Aimed at Low Information Buyers (similar to Low Information Voters) ….. these types bought into a slick ad campaign for the biggest, most important job in this country (and maybe in the world.) Don't bore LIB (and LIV) with facts, figures and prices … just WOW them with video game type entertainment and hope they buy a Honda when they do buy.