People movers bring a little of the Honda magic back

Who doesn’t love a car ad? We consider two very different campaigns recently launched for Japanese auto-maker Honda.

Recently, Australians may have caught Honda’s ‘Moving You’ brand campaign (Leo Burnett Melbourne) on their screens or about the place.

In it, a man and a woman – the latter a recovering stroke victim assisted by a Honda-engineered mobility device – take each others’ hands while a spate of Honda machines sweep dramatically around them in the sort of orchestrated spectacle Big Ads are renowned for, yet which we rarely see done well anymore.


For Honda, which has seen its reputation for innovative technologies slide somewhat over the last decade and its sales slump by almost half in the local market, it’s a clever, well-executed campaign that succeeds in restoring a bit of excitement to the brand as they launch an entirely revised line-up.

In particular, it communicates well the company’s holistic ambitions, with everything from trail bikes to speedboats, aerial drones and even robotics featuring in addition to the company’s range of consumer and enthusiast cars.

And at the centre of it all? The human element, empowered by technology.

It’s always difficult to assess the cut-through of such work in concrete terms, but it’s an impressively produced spot and as Honda’s first brand campaign in Australia we hope it does well for them.

Which leads us to a very different kind of campaign recently launched for the same carmaker, in a very different kind of market…

People sell better than machines

Like Australia, France shares a deep love for the automobile. Honda’s dealership coverage there however is quite small. The recent #HondaNextDoor campaign, from Paris agency Sid Lee, found an ingenious way to work around that inherent limitation.

Positing that the best salespeople for a car brand are its fans, #HondaNextDoor reached out to the most devout Honda enthusiasts in the country, who in turn allowed their homes to be tricked out as pop-up Honda dealerships to promote the company’s latest CRV and HRV models throughout French suburbia.


The resulting spot feels beautifully homespun – even intimate – with one fan proudly showing off their collection of Honda memorabilia. Backed by a social campaign, it appeared to work a treat, too, reaching a million people over three weeks and generating leads by the thousands.

This kind of balancing act between big-brand auto advertising and the human element is a tricky one to get right, especially as so many car ads often feel like simple re-skins of well-worn tropes (when they’re not direct-to-camera hard sells).

And given the different regional objectives in play, we think both the Australian and French campaigns have addressed that balance quite neatly. Kudos.

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Who doesn’t love a car ad? We consider two very different campaigns recently launched for Japanese auto-maker Honda.