Honda Dumps Nice Guy Fred Savage, Hires WWE Star Instead

honda dumps nice guy fred savage hires wwe star instead

Just like the updated Ridgeline pickup we reported last week, the rest of the Honda brand is going more macho as well. The company’s former spokesperson has been replaced in favor of WWE fan favorite wrestler John Cena.

Reported by Automotive News and a Honda press release, the company is changing its marketing tactics effective immediately. In a first run of new commercials, John Cena will explain to consumers how tough, rugged, and individual Honda products are. Honda’s launching its most important ads first, as Cena lends his voice to the 2021 Passport, Pilot, and Ridgeline.

The new marketing is part of Honda’s plan to go more product-focused in its messaging. Ed Beadle, Honda’s AVP of marketing, said that Fred Savage reflected a “nice” image, but Honda needed a change. Seeking a “sound that had more gravitas… more room to grow,” they turned to Cena.

After this initial run of utility vehicle ads, Mr. Cena will provide voiceover for all Honda commercials. The agreement with the wrestler-turned-actor includes only voiceover work for the time being, but Honda is open to other opportunities as well.

The ruggedness focus brings with it opportunities to display Honda’s depth of product. The new Ridgeline ad above showcases Honda’s generators, side-by-sides, and dirt bikes. And that’s an area where Honda can show off a range other manufacturers certainly can’t.

The official calling card of Honda is changing as well, as the two-chime doorbell used in ads since 2014 is now replaced by a drum beating. They’re tough, get the picture?

Cena is most definitely a more popular figure in 2020 than the ousted star of The Wonder Years. But will this sort of macho advertising resonate with consumers, who have long turned to Honda for beige sedans and comfortable minivans? Honda doesn’t think it will be an issue, and points to Cena’s down-to-earth image as proof.

With emphasis on being adventuresome, individualistic, and rugged at a seeming peak for the last few years, Honda is sure this new campaign will invigorate their image and make the brand exciting for new and prospective consumers alike. But I’m here to ask, “Are you sure about that?”

[Image: Honda]

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  • Michael S6 Michael S6 on Oct 12, 2020

    Way to go Honda. Give American what they want, tough looking SUV so Honda customers can shop at Costco with pride and not be looked down on by Jeep Wranglers and Raptors in the Costco parking lot.

  • Snakebit Snakebit on Oct 13, 2020

    It won't matter if AHM hires deep-voiced Sam Elliot to talk up the new Ridgeline, the folks here in Ram, F-150, and Tundra Country (Northern Nevada) would never stop at a Honda dealer shopping for a new pickup truck. They want a real pickup, not an Accord with a short load bed. I see five or six Tundra's for every late model Ridgeline on the interstate or in the Costco parking lot. And, the sales gap between the Ram and Ridgeline is even wider. Buyers for these pickups are not fooled. Why does Honda think that Toyota went to the trouble of building the Tundra instead of a Avalon or Camry-based pickup? C'mon Honda-it's not who your spokesman is, it's the product you're building.

    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Oct 14, 2020

      Toyota had decades of experience prior to Tundra's introduction in 2007 and sells trucks worldwide. Honda did not which is why the first Passport was an Isuzu and HMC seems to have decided since then its not worth the capital to create real trucks hence this. Honda may have been better off sourcing a truck from somewhere else, but in such an event the margins are probably thinner and their reputation at stake if the truck were to be a bomb (not to mention tech training, supply chains etc). Honda may actually have a shot with a small trucklet similar to T100/Ranger/S10 but instead they want to compete in the larger truck segment where they simply cannot win. Then they go an price the thing starting at 33,6 when I can get a Tacoma double cab starting at 26,9 (28,410 with V6). Only in clown world can this make sense.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.