Honda and Audi greeted football fans last weekend with new commercials that are sure to be winners. Which is good, because it has been a long summer since Mazda released its "Driving Matters" spot. How do we know these will be popular? Because as good as they are, we've seen them before, and they were home runs the first time around.
Honda wants to remind car shoppers of the company's incredible heritage, which spans product categories and includes all manner of racy, desirable equipment. The medium is a stop-motion film of sketched products on paper covering the company's launch as a maker of engines for bicycles and concluding with its new business jet roaring skyward.
It features wonderful imagery and the drawings of motorcycles will take consumers of a certain age back to the iconic A-Ha video for "Take On Me." The folding paper used also reminds viewers of Honda's Japanese origins, with that culture's appreciation for origami paper artwork.
This is the kind of brand-building commercial that viewers love (remember Chrysler's Eminem "Imported from Detroit" commercial?) and this is a great execution. But Honda has actually done this one before, though that commercial was for the U.K. in 2006 and never aired here.
Audi, meanwhile, has enlisted toy cars to remind us how powerful our childhood imagination was when we played with miniature cars, drawing the connection from those tiny cars to the life-size ones the company sells. The spot is great fun, evoking action and drama as the kid pushes his toy through all manner of hazards.
But we've seen the toy cars come to life before too, in Nissan's "Toys" spot of 1996. The idea still works for Audi, though it will be hard to forget the look on the Ken doll's face when Barbie runs off with G.I. Joe in his 300ZX.