Award Winning Honda Ad From UK Shows Ads Can Be Great and Compelling

David Kiley

Most advertising I see on TV is total crap, the stuff for which TiiVo was invented. It is for this reason that I point out a Honda ad from the U.K. produced by agency Wieden & Kennedy, which won the British Television Advertising Awards.

The ad is for the Honda diesel engine. The spot uses a compelling style of animation that reminds me of the British Teletubbies kids' program, and employs host of radio program Prairie Home Companion and author Garrison Keillor to croon a song about how Honda looked at diesel engine technology, which people universally hated because of the smell and noise, and turned it into something that is now beloved and sought after in Europe.

There is much debate in the U.S. about the benefits of clean diesel to power our cars. Car companies want clean diesel fuel on the market yesterday, while oil companies want it to spread as slowly as possible because of the investment required in refineries, the scarcity of diesel cars and U.S. consumers' resistance to diesel.

I have heard people like Ford Motor Co. CEO Bill Ford say companies may have to resort to perfuming diesel fuel in order to get American consumers to bite for a wonderful technology that faces mostly irrational opposition. That might work for some. But car companies and the diesel industry could fund advertising as clever and compelling as Honda's U.K. ad, and maybe people would start to change their perceptions.

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