Five years ago, Honda would have seemed like an unlikely Advertiser of the Year. Nevertheless, Ken Keir, senior VP-Honda Motor Europe, will take the stage at this month's International Advertising Festival to accept that honor, which places the brand alongside previous winners—and ad world all-stars—like Sony, adidas and Nike. Not bad for what "was literally considered an old person's car" in the U.K. five years ago, according to Wieden + Kennedy/London creative director Ben Walker. The perception was: "fairly dull, a bit sensible, very reliable," says Ian Armstrong, who joined Honda in 2003 as manager of customer communications in the U.K. "You bought a Honda because it didn't break down. We had a very 'functional' perception. There wasn't any great deal of emotional attachment to the brand at all, and it was driven by those people who wanted to make that fairly rational choice. We decided that something had to change."