Honda 2005 APG Awards Stuart Smith


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Honda 2005 APG Awards Stuart Smith

  1. 1. 17 HONDA Is hate so bad? What if it made us mad enough to change something? Isn’t that positive hate? This piece of thinking not only inspired the creative work for the Honda Diesel campaign, the thinking was part of the creativity of the creative work. Hate doesn’t always suck ass GOLD & GRAND PRIX Wieden & Kennedy Campaigns for established product brands (over £2m) sponsor: Millward Brown Grand prix sponsor: Synovate Planned by: Stuart Smith Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Client: Honda
  2. 2. T-shirt wisdom In America a couple of weeks ago, I saw this t-shirt: (it helps if you read it in an American accent) 18 HONDA Roughly translated That t-shirt was of the opinion that hate isn’t a terribly nice thing. And it felt quite strongly about it. It’s an opinion shared by the average man in the street, like this man: He’ll probably tell you that hate is bad. He may even hate hate.
  3. 3. 19 HONDA But wait a minute Doesn’t even hate deserve a second chance? This is a paper that speaks up for hate. It’s a paper about finding hate’s good side, and using that to create a very different campaign. It’s a paper that suggests that hate is something we can love. It’s a paper about the odd-sounding but simple idea of: positive hate Let's rewind a little bit first Honda love engines. Big ones, little ones, car ones, bike ones - anything ones, really. Even engines to make other engines. But Honda had never made diesel engines. Honda regarded them as clunkier and smellier than their petrol half-brothers. Yet diesel engines now make up almost half of the European car market. For Honda to be poo-pooing half of the whole market was becoming commercial suicide.
  4. 4. 20 HONDA Ta da So Honda made a shiny new diesel engine. Here it is: Our brief was to tell diesel-considerers that it existed. And that it was good. In fact, it was really good. So good, in fact, that we started thinking that this was more than just a nuts-and-bolts story. We saw this as a juicy opportunity to make a big statement about the Honda brand. It struck us that there could be a brand story in just how far Honda’s diesel was from most people’s view of diesels. Worlds apart We wanted to encourage explicit comparison between two very different worlds: • how most people saw diesels • Honda’s new diesel We created mood boards for the creative brief, designed to maximise contrast between the two. As you can probably guess, this one was trying to represent the world of bad old boo-hiss diesels:
  5. 5. 21 HONDA Whereas This one was trying to set the mood of the Honda diesel world: Outlining (and then colouring-in) this contrast proved to be vital, when you look at the final creative work. But whilst this contrast created the tonal context for the message, we still needed inspiration to get us to the message itself. The inspiration This is Kenichi Nagahiro: He’s the hero of this story. Kenichi Naga-hero, if you will. Kenichi is Honda’s chief engineer. We went to see him give a speech in Offenbach, Germany (Honda’s European Research and Development HQ). It turned out to be a trip worth miles more than just air miles. Kenichi rose to his feet and launched into an impassioned rant about diesel engines. Words like ‘dirty’ and ‘noisy’ were polluting the room. But it was another word that pressed our ‘ooh-that’s-interesting’ button. That word was ‘hate’. Kenichi said, “I hate diesels”.
  6. 6. 22 HONDA Yes. And? Kenichi had laid down some ground rules. He’d only agreed to build a Honda diesel engine on the condition that he could completely start from scratch. So that’s what he did. He even invented new manufacturing materials and processes. In all, Honda applied for over 100 patents. The result was an engine that’s hugely powerful, yet vibration free, extremely quiet and has very low emissions. And it was made with aluminium. It was a diesel engine like no other, all because Kenichi had hated the others. We felt a tingle. Why not make our brief about hatred? The overall Honda communications strategy is about simply getting the truths of Honda out there. It felt like we had found an interesting truth; the diesel engine from the company that hated diesel engines Hondaness We had our contrasting worlds and we had our ‘hate’ thing. But we weren’t totally happy with our starter thought of the diesel engine from the company that hated diesel engines. We felt we needed to ‘Honda it up a little’. Honda campaigns try to provoke a bit of thought, where possible, and a defining part of Honda is their optimistic thinking. Accordingly, we try to paint all Honda communications with optimistic thinking. So, in this case, we wanted to combine hate with optimism, and the big idea became all about positive hate.
  7. 7. HONDA 23 Wrong is right We liked the idea of a strategy about hate. We thought it would disarm. Get us noticed. Provoke thought. Hate felt conspicuous. At school, we’re often told off for using the word. We liked the idea of bringing hate and positivity together even more. Like potassium and water, or Den and Angie, we felt that mixing the two would create a combustible reaction. Above all, we liked the idea of positive hate, because it sounded wrong. The logical support bit But we still needed to close the strategic loop. You can’t just shove hate and optimism together, willy nilly. You need a reason why it’s OK to be optimistic about hate. Why can hate be a good thing? We fannied around for a while on this, to be honest, until the penny dropped. Or until the Euro dropped, actually, as the answer came from Berlin. We realised that it was a bit like when the Berlin Wall came down. Or when statues of Sadaam were toppled. We showed the creatives footage of the glee on people’s faces as they physically attacked these symbols of hatred. They were doing something positive about their hate.
  8. 8. 24 HONDA Let's get back to Honda It’s fairly obvious now, when you look back on it, because that’s exactly how Kenichi Nagahiro used his hatred for diesels. Not in the sense that he’d advanced the cause of world peace, of course, but in the sense that his hatred had ultimately been positive; He hated diesels so much, that it made him change them for the better. So we had our brief. Next stop - the creative work. Song in the key of Grrr Honda creative work had always strived to get more of the brand voice out there, but do so very differently each time. This was no exception. It started with the writing of a completely new song. There are songs about love, why not songs about hate? Or perhaps a love song about hate? This song became the radio ad that launched the campaign.
  9. 9. HONDA 25 Liberace's golf course We also needed something visual, for all the other media we wanted to use to create a big and integrated splash. Just art directing the word ‘hate’, optimistically, seemed interesting. We also thought about dirty black diesel oil drops. If you look at them in the right light, you see a rainbow. So a world was created. A rainbow- drenched world of positive hate, with the product right slap-bang in the middle of it. A world of sharp contrast; between the coughing and spluttering dirty bully, and Honda’s polite and well-turned out new boy. A world where symbols of positivity used their hatred for something bad, to change it to something better. Cinema, TV and web film
  10. 10. HONDA 26 Game Website
  11. 11. HONDA 27 Print: Interactive TV
  12. 12. HONDA 28 The APG Awards aren't really about results, but still The campaign generated some fantastic reaction, like 42% more visitors to During the campaign, Honda went from having the 5th most visited car website, to number 1. Over 20,000 punched-in their details with the interactive TV ad. 68,000 played the online game. Tracking indices showed: Spontaneous brand awareness +62%, brand liking +29% and preference +33%. Campaign of The Year (Campaign), Commercial of The Year (BTAA), Platinum (Creative Circle) and the Epica D’Or are just some of the awards the campaign’s won so far. Then there was some less glitzy recognition. A drug rehabilitation clinic took the message of this campaign to further the cause of their own. Oh, and who won Top Gear’s Man of the Year? Kenichi Nagahiro. The work that led to the work This wasn’t a case where planning created the brief, laminated it, then handed it over and waited for the magic beans to sprout something. Planning was actively involved throughout; including the client presentation (not just by helping with the backing whistling) to animation development. But the focus of this paper is the thinking earlier in the process, which can be clearly seen in the creative work that emerged at the end of it: This is what the old diesel world looks like, and this is what the Honda diesel world looks like. Hmm, maybe we could use this “I hate diesels” thing somehow. In fact, what if we take that hatred, and chuck positivity in there with it? Look at these guys attacking the Berlin Wall with pick-axes; that’s what ‘positive hate’ is.
  13. 13. HONDA 29 Maybe hate doesn't always suck ass Maybe that t-shirt could have said this: Creative brief Background Honda have realised the growing importance of diesels in the European market, so they’ve finally built one., Being Honda, they decided it would have to be the best in the world. So, they got the master engine builder, Kenichi Nagahiro (the creator of the VTEC engine) to build it. Nagahiro always hated diesels. He felt them to be smelly, slow, dirty and noisy. He decided to start with a totally blank sheet of paper and design a diesel engine that was none of these things. He invented manufacturing materials and processes like Semi- Solid casting for the aluminium engine block, intelligent combustion control and pendulum cradles. In all, Honda applied for over 100 patents for the creation of this engine. The result is a 2.2i engine that is almost vibration free and very quiet. It’s also very powerful, delivering a long range of torque over 2000 rpm and a 0-100kph of 9.3 seconds, with very low emissions. It already conforms to strict 2004 legislation. It is just like a petrol engine, in fact. It seems that Nagahiro’s dream for the best diesel engine in the world has come true. The journalists in the trade press are in love with this new diesel from Honda, and praise it for the revolutionary engine it is. Audience People considering a diesel. The corporate audience is particularly important; diesels do well as company cars. However, this campaign is aimed at everyone who has ever been sceptical about diesel engines (see mood board) and, moreover, everyone who doesn’t know just how revolutionary Honda is in its engine production. Business challenge To generate interest in Honda’s new diesel engine, whilst further building the brand. Creative challenge To dramatise the fact that this is a diesel engine from the company that hated diesel engines. Honda used this hatred positively. Support Kenichi Nagahiro hated diesels so much that he only agreed to make one if he could start from scratch. It’s like when you see people bringing down symbols of hatred, like The Berlin Wall or Saddam statues. Like Kenichi, they used their hatred positively; to change things.