Creativity

Honda targets hybrid 'blahs' in Insight comeback campaign

Brand battles a world of 'meh' in latest from RPA

By E.J. Schultz. Published on Jul 23, 2018

Editor's Pick

The Toyota Prius gets all the glory, but it was actually Honda that brought the first gasoline-electric hybrid car to the U.S. when it debuted its Insight brand in 1999. Prius arrived in the U.S. a few months later, eventually leaving Insight in the dust. Honda discontinued the Insight in 2014 amid plummeting sales.

Now Honda is giving it another shot, backing its redesigned 2019 Insight with a campaign that seeks to portray other hybrids as boring. The effort, by Honda agency-of-record RPA, is called "Fight Mehdiocrity" and touts the Insight as a good-looking alternative to other hybrids.

On social media, Honda will run GIFs that turn ordinary, boring objects into something more visually interesting. They'll be created by artist Helga Stentzel, who takes a similar approach on her Instagram page.

Honda is approaching the redesigned version as a "brand new completely changed model from the one we had before," says Susie Rossick, assistant VP of Honda Marketing at American Honda Motor Co. Honda kept the moniker, rather than creating a new one, because "we like the name Insight and it works very well for this category."

The campaign plays up the car's styling because research revealed the top turnoff for potential hybrid buyers is ugly design.

While not in the hybrid category, Cadillac took a similar creative approach a couple years ago with an ad that sought to seperate the Escalade from the herd.

Insight has a long road to travel to catch the Prius. While Prius U.S. sales were down 16.2 percent year-to-date through June, Toyota still sold 46,171 of them, after recording 108,662 sales all of last year, according to Automotive News. Insight peaked in 2010, with 20,962 vehicles sold.

The redesigned Insight arrives in a tough-selling market. Total vehicle sales are ediging down from 2016's record pace, and trucks and SUVs--not cars--are dominating, says Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs. Also, the fuel economy benefits of hybrids don't seem to be carrying as much weight with consumers as they once did.

The Insight must fight for share not only with Prius but with others competitors like Hyundai's Ioniq hybrid and the Kia Niro crossover. Ioniq with its marketing seeks to rise above the hybrid fray, just like Insight: "The world didn't need another hybrid, it needed a better hybrid," states an Ioniq ad that debuted last year and has gotten intermittent play this year, according to iSpot.

Rossick says Honda's goal "isn't really to overtake the Prius. Prius has a lot of brand equity." Rather, Honda wants to lure buyers "that are looking for a really great looking sedan that just happens to be a hybrid." She said that Honda has already sold roughly 850 Insights since sales began in late June, and "we haven't even done any support for it. We are seeing the interest."

The campaign begins this week, but media support will kick into a higher gear in the fall with the arrival of better TV programming options, Rossick says. She declined to reveal spending figures.

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Credits

Date
Jul 23, 2018
Client:
Honda
Agency:
RPA
EVP / Chief Creative Officer:
Joe Baratelli
SVP / Chief, Creative Development:
Jason Sperling
VP / Creative Director:
Sarah May Bates
VP / Creative Director:
Alicia Dotter
Senior Copywriter:
Anthony Cardenas
Art Director:
Amy Wong
EVP / Chief Production Officer:
Gary Paticoff
VP / Director, Video Production:
Isadora Chesler
Senior Producer:
Phung Vo
EVP / Chief Client Officer:
Brett Bender
SVP / Group Account Director:
Adam Blankenship
Management Supervisor:
Jacob Gentry
Account Supervisor:
Heather McConnell
Account Executive:
Claire Penhorwood
VP / Director, Business Affairs:
Maria Del'Homme
Senior Product Information Specialist:
Brian Johnson
Production Company:
Anonymous Content
Director:
Patrick Daughters
Managing Director:
Eric Stern
Executive Producer:
SueEllen Clair
Head of Production:
Kerry Haynie
Producer:
Sara D'Alessio
Director of Photography:
Alwin Kuchler
Production Designer:
Floyd Albee
Editorial:
Cut + Run
Editor:
Jay Nelson
Assistant Editor:
Kelly Henson
Managing Director:
Michelle Eskin
Executive Producer:
Amburr Farls
Head of Production:
Annabelle Dunbar-Whittaker
Producer:
Brian Mulvey
VFX/Finishing:
MPC
Executive Producer:
Karen Anderson
Creative Director:
Michael Gregory
Producer:
Nicole Saccardi
Coordinator:
Ciaran Birks
2D Supervisor:
Jim Spratling
Comp:
Gustavo Bellon
Comp:
Rodrigo Jimenez
Comp:
Toya Drechsler
Comp:
Jon Rogala
Comp:
Pete Ulukpo
Comp:
Abhilash A
Comp:
Karthik C
Comp:
Nanda Kumar P
Comp:
Pratyush Paruchuri
Comp:
Jahnvi Mistry
Comp:
Vipin Tripathi
Comp:
Aginesh
Comp:
Akhil K.P
Comp:
Akshay Agarwal
Comp:
Kajal Pandya
Comp:
Kiran V
Comp:
MohanaKrishnan C
Comp:
Naresh
Comp:
Padma Priya
Comp:
Vignesh E
Comp:
Ajeet Pratap Singh
Comp:
Trishul Pani Mishra
Comp:
Vaishali Awaghade
Comp:
Veerapandian
Comp:
Amit Shukla
Comp:
Kishan Katrimal
Comp:
Praveenkumar Samiraj
DMP:
Amy Wang
DMP:
Thom Price
DMP:
Bakiyaraj P
DMP:
Radhakrishna Rethinasamy
DMP:
Sachin Suresh rao Dhapudkar
DMP:
Srinivas Achary
3D Lead:
Tim Kafka
3D:
Julian Fitzpatrick
3D:
Rodrigo Carrasco
3D:
Brendon Echsner
3D:
Joey Sila
3D:
Nate Skeen
3D:
You Tegara
3D:
Meghan Sensie
3D:
Andrew Price
3D:
Jaspreet Dua
3D:
Jyoti Prakash Panda
3D:
Manjunath Ramakrishnaiah
3D:
Craig Savio Padua
3D:
Srikar Balakrishnan
3D:
Debasish
3D:
Venkatesan. D
3D:
Ajith PA
3D:
Achiraju K
3D:
Mohammad Qasim
3D:
Shaik Abdul Rahim
3D:
Sindhuja B
3D:
Elangovan Ganeshan
3D:
Vishal Darkunde
Designer:
Jeff Julian
Color Producer:
Rebecca Boorsma
Color Coordinator:
Damian Winterbottom
Colorist:
Mark Gethin
TK Assist:
Dimitri Rajapakse
Music:
Booker Hill
Composer:
Alexander Feil
Producer:
Nicholas Feil
Sound Design:
Factory
Sound Design:
Mark Hills
Sound Design:
Anthony Moore
Audio Producer:
Lou Allen
Mix:
Lime
Audio Mixer:
Dave Wagg
Audio Assistant:
Stephen Fredericks
Executive Producer:
Susie Boyajan

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