In 2003 Honda ran this campaign in English magazines. It was the latest in a string of strange executions clearly aimed at showing how creative they are, how car makers can sometimes think outside the box, how dreaming can also be part and parcel of the automotive business.
I will give them 10 out of 10 for being brave. Like a number of car companies since, they dare to be different. And let’s face it, advertising a car company without showing a car is brave. But replacing a car with a BANANA?!
My major problem with this ad is not the concept, but the copy (the text for the ad), which I transcribe here.
“Have you ever written on a banana in biro?” [my immediate thought: yes, but so what?]
“It’s crazy but it works like a dream. You wish all writing could be this way.” [er, not sure I do]
“It flows. It’s smooth. It’s sensual. You get the urge to write poems; sonnets; odes to lilies.” [hm, again: not me!]
“A strongly worded letter of complaint is impossible. It makes you realise that everything can be improved.” [now, stop there, what does writing poems on a banana, or a complaints letter, have to do with improving something… sorry Honda, you’ve lost the plot here]
“That even the familiar can be looked at in a new light. And that imagination is more powerful than knowledge.” [ok, that’s the one thought in this ad I can buy into, but sadly you’ve already lost me, your banana bent my brain two sentences ago]
“Do you believe in the power of dreams?” [Yes, but that’s still got naff-all to do with this banana!]
Oh dear. Well, having shown this ad to a number of MBA courses, and criticised it, I suddenly realised last year I’d better take it out of my notes. My company car is now a Honda. But you know what? I hadn’t made the connection. Maybe branding is more subliminal than I thought. Or maybe I got my car despite this ad. Or precisely because of it?