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American Honda Motor Co., selling more cars this year than in 1997, will increase its ad budget for the '99 model year about 10%.

Honda spent $335.6 million in measured media in calendar 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

As it did last year, the car marketer will advertise during the National Football League's Super Bowl.

The larger, more powerful Odyssey minivan will get more than $50 million in national ad spending in the '99 model year, said Paul Sellers, national advertising manager, including the Super Bowl spot.

Agency Rubin Postaer & Associates, Santa Monica, Calif., continues the simple look and feel of regular Honda advertising.Actor Richard Dreyfuss, in his second year pitching the brand, generally offers the only narration.


Honda wants Accord owners to feel the vehicle "isn't just a car you need" for its well-known quality, durability and reliability, "but a car you want," Mr. Sellers said.

For Accord, the brand's bread-and-butter model, "we're trying to dial up the emotional quotient," he added.

The agency created two new Accord spots that break on national TV the week of Oct. 12. One shows a robot on an assembly line distracted by an Accord outside, and falling in love with it. But his supervisor, a female robot, stops him from leaving the plant and sends him back to work.

Voice-over says: "The attractive, highly sophisticated Accord coupe. What will it do for you?"

The second spot features a harried woman, blocked by two men from retrieving her luggage at the airport, using her remote control to freeze all action so she can escape to her Accord. The tagline: "It's not just a car. It's a state of mind."


Honda introduced its bigger, redesigned Accord last year. The tag used then-"An Accord like no other"-has now been dropped. "We've never been signature-driven," said agency Chairman-CEO Gerry Rubin.

But the Civic has a new tag: "What about now?" It addresses the Generation X target audience's aspirations beyond their jobs and beyond the routine, said Mr. Rubin.

The new Civic commercials are edgier and will have more appeal to Gen Xers, Mr. Sellers said.

Three 30-second Civic spots begin airing the week of Oct. 26. A :60 version of the spot touting the SI model will run in movie theaters in early January, when the new model will be available.


Honda is among only three car marketers that "could get away with image advertising and only visual references to the product, as opposed to claims about the product," commented Gordon Wang-ers, managing partner of car-testing consultancy AMCI. The other two are Mercedes-Benz of North America.and Toyota Motor Sales USA.

Honda plans a major print schedule for its vehicles, with ads breaking in November books.

Rubin Postaer Interactive also has updated Honda's Web site ( as of today. New this year is that visitors to the site can price the average cost of installed options.

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