Campaign have a ‘YouTube Ad of the Week’ column, where each week someone from an agency chooses an ad that they’d like to single out, usually for praise. It’s usually a fairly bland affair and used as a chance to single out your mates at the agency over the road for praise. This week was refreshingly different as Martin Bailie, from Glue Isobar, eschewed the industry back-slapping and chose an ad he clearly didn’t like: Honda USA’s super bowl commercial. The ad, which featured the long-awaited return of Ferris Bueller, has been riding high in the brand viral video charts ever since the ad was launched, although that might be explained by what Bailie describes as ‘the vast outpouring of loathing that spilled out over the Internet’:
As an ad, it’s well-shot, has lots of hidden references to the original (for the bloggers), is entertaining and tells a story. But it’s the wrong story. What made the original a cult film was the joy of watching the worldliness, guile and luck of a high-school student. Who wouldn’t have wanted to be him? Now, we are told a story of a middle-aged man with a facelift driving a sensible family car. No girlfriend, no kooky mate, no teachers, no Ferrari.
Perhaps the most unfortunate element of this campaign is the strategy. Honda forgot the golden rule of “under promise, over-deliver”. Doing the opposite is risky indeed. But at least the marketing team have nerves. You’ve got to applaud them for that.