Honda Attempts to Sell Hydrogen Power With Vastly Unsettling Ad Campaign

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
honda attempts to sell hydrogen power with vastly unsettling ad campaign

Telling someone that you can run a car on hydrogen — a greenhouse gas — and emit clean water as the singular byproduct is already an extremely novel concept. You don’t need a laser light display or sideshow antics to make that fact more interesting or palatable. In the case of Honda, you absolutely do not need to include the disembodied heads of singing children bathed in light. In fact, the actual message might even become partially lost in the abyss of confusion you’ve created as people furrow their brows and wonder if someone has snuck a psychoactive drug into their beverage.

For reasons clearer to hired visual artist Adam Pesapane than myself, the 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell ad campaign uses a central theme of floating heads — frequently representing chemical compounds and molecular structures. The end result is as informative as it is unsettling, though it heavily favors the latter.

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

More by Matt Posky

Join the conversation
8 of 17 comments
  • DC Bruce DC Bruce on Feb 08, 2017

    Hydrogen is a greenhouse gas? Didn't know that. Given the predominance of oxygen in the atmosphere, it's hard to imagine there's any free hydrogen running around. Or, did you mean that water vapor (H20) is a greenhouse gas, which it is. One of the difficulties in figuring out global temperature change is accounting for the effect of more or less water vapor (clouds) in the atmosphere.

    • See 1 previous
    • Russycle Russycle on Feb 09, 2017

      One way to harvest hydrogen is by "cracking" hydrocarbons, so I could see where you could be creating greenhouse gases. Whether that's actually the case I'm to lazy to investigate and hydrogen has plenty of other issues working against it.

  • Ghillie Ghillie on Feb 08, 2017

    It doesn't do it for me - but it's no worse than the writing here: "The end result is as informative as it is unsettling, though it heavily favors the latter." To equate how informative the advertisement is with how unsettling it is and then say "it heavily favours the latter" is contradictory.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Feb 09, 2017

    The main source of hydrogen is dissociation from water, which requires electrical energy, and lots of it. The only economical way to produce it is with a nuclear powerplant. The people pushing for hydrogen as a fuel are opposed to nuclear, and opposed as well to the second most efficient electrical generation method, hydro. If this were a serious alternative, government-owned transit systems would be converting to hydrogen instead of LPG. We're not going to break away from hydrocarbon fuels until we have di-lithium crystals.

    • See 1 previous
    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Feb 10, 2017

      @markogts For base generation of electricity, nuclear is cheapest, and that's where the economy of dissociation is. Renewables don't have that base capacity, but have enough in subsidies to become marginally competitive, but only when the sun shines and wind is blowing. The storage of energy for peak load is a problem. As for hydo, there's no shortage of places where an upper and lower reservoir can be built, as long as you can find the basic resource - water - to fill them. Then they can be used as energy storage devices for renewables. Wind or solar could be used to move water from the lower reservoir to the upper, with turbines used to convert the latent energy into electricity when needed. No river is needed, just enough water to replace losses through evaporation and spillage.

  • Brett Woods Brett Woods on Feb 11, 2017

    I could see setting up stationary fuel cells at well heads that were capped with a metered release valve in a permanent set up with transformers and power lines from there. But we would have to solve a way for the fuel cell to use what came out of the well head without any residual exhaust.