Global highlight: Honda U.K.'s Asimo

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Honda U.K. is following up two of the world's most awarded campaigns in recent years-"Grrr" and "Cog"-with its first major work since marketing director Simon Thompson, credited with overseeing both those efforts, left to run European marketing at Motorola last year.

A 90-second ad introduces Honda U.K.'s new brand ambassador, a cute robot called Asimo who both launches the new CR-V and promotes the automaker's warm, friendly attitude toward new technology.

Asimo (which stands for "advanced study in mobility") walks around a deserted museum, engaging with the exhibits in a demonstration of his "human" qualities. He is as intrigued by a bucket collecting drips of water as he is by the telescopes, planes and early TV sets on display. A voice-over says, "Technology. Making better, better. Onward, upward, any way but backward. Tapping progress on the shoulder and saying, 'More forward, please."'

Alex Conaway, group account director at Honda U.K.'s ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, London, said, "Asimo represents Honda's warm and enjoyable approach to technology vs. its competitors' more cold, clinical attitude."

The Asimo project began 21 years ago as a Honda research-and-development effort to help people with mobility problems. Now the humanoid robot is a brand ambassador, visiting schools and even meeting world leaders. Mr. Conaway said Honda was concerned people might see the spot and assume it was all special effects, so five short films were broadcast daily on before the launch to introduce Asimo and its history. The website also features a gallery space dedicated to Honda advancements such as a hydrogen-fuel-cell car and a Honda jet plane.
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