Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, London
How does an agency follow up the most talked-about commercial of the year?
Honda's "Cog"-a mesmerizing two-minute chain reaction using car parts that was a runner-up for the TV Grand Prix at last month's International Advertising Festival in Cannes-was always going to be a hard act to follow. Especially when the brief for the sequel was to promote a complicated new environmentally friendly technology with the dazzlingly dull name "Integrated Motor Assist."
But Wieden & Kennedy, London, found an inspired route into the problem and has recaptured the relaxed, understated, confident tone of "Cog" in a 60-second spot called "Sense."
IMA technology combines a petrol engine with an electric motor that kicks in when it senses full power is not required, thereby reducing fuel consumption and creating fewer emissions. "Sense" illustrates the concept by showing different power sources powering up and down as and when they are needed.
A gas burner turns itself down once a pan of milk has boiled. Lights come on in a train station only when a train arrives. A TV powers down when the man watching it drifts off to sleep. Author Garrison Keillor asks, "If things knew when they weren't being used, wouldn't we save a whole load of energy?"
Honda deliberately avoids being too worthy about IMA's environmental benefits, and instead tells a hi-tech story in a sympathetic way that allows the viewer to do the work. "Sense" prompts consumers to question why and how we use energy, while maintaining the warmth toward the brand that was built up by the equally intriguing "Cog."