Downloading the Future of TV Advertising
With a plink and a plunk and 86 moving parts, Honda reminds the ad world of the value of great content — and teaches it something about the power of interactivity.
By John Battelle, July 2003 Issue
In April 2003, Honda U.K. debuted an extraordinary two-minute television advertisement called “Cog.”Through the simple act of releasing a remarkable television commercial onto the Web, the U.K. wing of automobile giant Honda (HMC) has unleashed something of a typhoon in the advertising business. Though it has yet to fully play out, Honda’s ad proves the value of content and could stand as a turning point in the history of the television spot — proof that interactivity won’t kill television advertising, as many are now predicting, but may instead be instrumental in saving it.
Back in April, Honda U.K. debuted an extraordinary two-minute television advertisement called “Cog.” Aired only in the United Kingdom, the film — and that really is the best term for it — is a Rube Goldbergian ballet, a synchronized dance of 86 distinct parts from a Honda Accord that roll, pirouette, and fly along the floor in a mesmerizing production of meticulously intended consequence. The spot begins with a sequence of three cogs rolling along a plank; one falls to the floor, and a cam shaft rolls, setting an exhaust tube slowly spinning, which knocks three precisely placed grommets down the slope of a hood, and so on. (Download the ad for yourself at Honda UK.)
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