Honda targets hybrid 'blahs' in Insight comeback campaign

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

Published On
Jul 23, 2018

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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.

Credits

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

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