By Rachael Steven

Wieden + Kennedy has launched a new campaign for Honda with a TV spot and print ads inspired by space travel. The cinematic film features the voice of Ayrton Senna, Honda’s ASIMO robot and a cameo from Formula 1 driver Jenson Button.

The campaign launches across Europe today, and Honda has been posting teasers and trailers on social media for the past week. The campaign aims to promote the new Honda HR-V and Civic Type R as well as the brand’s return to Formula 1, and the Honda Jet’s first commercial flight.

Directed by Aoife McArdle, the spot opens with a shot of Honda’s humanoid robot, ASIMO, staring out at the horizon at sunrise, before cutting to a fleet of Honda vehicles lined up on a runway. Overhead shots show the fleet assembled in a formation that looks like a rocket when viewed from above.

As always with Honda, there’s some evocative music and sound design: the spot includes excerpts from Beethoven’s Symphony No.5 and Mozart’s Queen of the Night Aria, which are both featured on the Golden Record sent into space with the Voyager 1 probe in 1977, alongside the sound of roaring engines and the chorus of 1960s children’s song A Trip on a Rocket Ship. The late Ayrton Senna’s voice can be also be heard briefly.

The ad was filmed on the Podilsko-Voskresenskyi bridge, Kiev, Ukraine, and features VFX by The Mill and sound design by The Factory. The score was devised by Walter Mair, a science fiction composer who has worked on sound for Inception, Transformers and Grand Theft Auto, as well as a series of car ads.

It’s beautifully shot, and clever in-camera techniques are used to play with viewers’ perspectives, making it look as if vehicles are part of a rocket preparing for lift off. The ad also features references to historical Honda products – the driver of Honda’s new NSX supercar is pictured holding a photograph of the original 1991 model.

It’s a grand production, and the cinematic effects certainly evoke a sense of drama and daring. An accompanying set of print ads features the same overhead rocket shot shown in the ad’s final scenes, and Honda will be posting stories about the vehicles pictured in the campaign on its website.

Creative director Scott Dungate says: “We wanted to create a film that dramatised Honda’s daring ambition across the range. Representing the fleet as a rocket at lift off, felt like it captured the anticipation, the daring and the human endeavour perfectly, in both an iconic and emotive way.”

Behind the scenes images by Nick Owen, courtesy of Honda

Creative director: Scott Dungate
Director: Aoife McArdle
Production: Somesuch
Post: The Mill
Music & Sound: Factory Studios & Siren @ Factory Ltd
Composer: Walter Mair via Siren
Design director: Karen Jane
Designer: Sanket Avlani
DOP: John Lynch

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