Honda Risks Disaster for Live UK Advert

What's the downside? Seems no one at Honda asked that question when the automaker decided to hire a team of 19 skydivers to form the word "Honda" in mid-air. In three minutes and 20 seconds. Live. On British national TV. The spot falls under (so to speak) Honda's new ad campaign: " If it's difficult, it's worth doing." If something goes seriously wrong, the Honda ad will test the limits of another, showbiz-oriented strapline "There's no such thing as bad publicity." The Guardian makes no mention of the ad's central lure– the possibility of death. It does, however, reports that Honda's already tested the concept. (So that's alright, then.) "The stunt is a means of gaining publicity for Honda's new multi-million pound ad campaign, which features 45 skydivers promoting the Honda Accord by creating a series of shapes over the Mojave desert to reflect new features on the car." i-VTEC® this! So why risk risking lives to do it live? ""We wanted to create something unmissable and what better way to produce something 'must see' than to stage the first live ad event on TV," Channel 4's sales director, Andy Barnes revealed. "It's about creating talkability on a big scale, managing the risk and being seen as pioneers for it." Let's hope "managing the risk" doesn't turn into paying off someone's widow.

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  • Stephan Wilkinson Stephan Wilkinson on May 29, 2008

    Ah, yes, the air-show phenomenon...as a pilot, I've always felt that it was counter-productive. The only time the Blues or Thunderbirds get the big-time attention is when one of them goes in. Nobody in the U. S. knew who the Freccia Tricolore were until they killed a bunch of people at Ramstein AFB a few years ago and it was all over the TV news and print magazines for a few days. By the way, did you know that the Honda commercial referenced above was done in one seamless take and that it took exactly 599 tries to get it done?

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on May 29, 2008

    Stephan, Are you referring to the parts ad or the skydiving ad? The parts ad is amazing. And I want that Accord wagon. With a clutch. Maybe they will bring it here now that SUVs are tanking. Society as a whole has a strong risk aversion, except, it seems, when it comes to war in iraq. There isn't the need for the kind of physical risk taking that used to exist, but many retain the relevant genetics. Not me. And probably not anyone in my extended family.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on May 29, 2008

    If this thing were to end in disaster, I don't think it would hurt Honda's sales. The cars would still be viewed as high quality reliable. And the ad can't help make a lot of people more aware of Honda. I think it's a smart move, and a reasonable business risk. And if there are people who are happy to take the skydiving risk for whatever Honda is paying them, it's fine with me. I wouldn't do it, but the world would be pretty colorless if there weren't people who would. Have to amend previous statement about risk-taking in my family. One relative was Tom Hornbein, who was one of the first two to ascend the hazardous West Ridge of Everest, in the early '60s. And my niece, who I took for plane flying lessons when she was 7, was recently spotted parasailing high above somewhere in ANZAC. And if crossing the country on a bicycle is considered risky, I'm guilty. But I do'nt consider it very risky--with a helmet.

  • Stephan Wilkinson Stephan Wilkinson on May 29, 2008

    Parts ad. My wife is still hoping to do the XC bike trip.

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