What Are These Floating Kids' Heads Doing in a Honda Ad?

RPA Taps PES for a Campaign Personifying Automaker's Fuel Cell Technology

By E.J. Schultz. Published on Feb 07, 2017

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Honda and agency-of-record RPA have once again tapped visual effects guru Pes to create an ad -- but this time the artist is using live action, rather than the stop-motion technique for which he is known. The spot for the automaker's Clarity hydrogen fuel cell sedan features a choir of floating children's heads that are meant to symbolize the hydrogen molecules that fuel the car.

The campaign -- which was inspired by Honda's long-running global environmental slogan "Blue Skies for Our Children" -- represents the automaker's largest marketing investment to date for a fuel cell vehicle, said Steve Center, VP of the environmental business development office at American Honda Motor Co.

Pes, whose full name is Adam Pesapane, last worked with Honda on a stop-motion ad last year for the Ridgeline pickup. He earlier collaborated with the automaker on a 2015 ad called "Paper" that weaved together roughly 3,000 hand-drawn illustrations using stop-motion filming that took viewers through a paper-flipping, historical journey of Honda products.

The new ad is called "Thinking About Tomorrow" and includes a riff on the classic Fleetwood Mac song "Don't Stop." Each singing hydrogen molecule child was filmed individually using choreographed motion-control cameras and orbiting spotlights, according to Honda. "These scenes were then digitally composited with special effects to create a musical subatomic galaxy," Honda stated.

Honda's campaign comes soon after Toyota used a local Super Bowl ad in California to tout its Mirai fuel cell vehicle. The spot, titled "Daisy" by Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, ran in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The new Clarity is available for lease in California at 12 Honda dealerships in the Bay Area, Southern California and Sacramento. The state is the most advanced market for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. As a result, Honda is targeting California with the campaign. The 60-second TV spot will air in Los Angeles during the Academy Awards on Feb. 26. Media buys are also slated for other California markets including San Francisco and Sacramento.

Read more about Honda's Clarity push on

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Feb 07, 2017
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