Old Sheep Learn New Tricks in Honda’s Amusing Super Bowl Commercial – Adweek

Posted: Monday, February 01, 2016

The beasts are suddenly musically inclined.

There’s been a somewhat surprising scarcity of animal-themed Super Bowl teasers—and actual spots—this season. (RIP, Budweiser puppy.) But Honda and RPA have rounded up some talented sheep to help change that.

The automaker on Monday released its 2016 Super Bowl spot, advertising the 2017 Honda Ridgeline, coming this spring. And one feature of the truck in particular will have prospective buyers—and barnyard animals everywhere—singing its praises. Quite literally.

See the spot, directed by Hungry Man’s Bryan Buckley, here:

Yes, the new Ridgeline, has a truck-bed audio system that uses so-called “exciters” to turn the whole bed into a giant outdoor speaker. Honda is pushing that single feature in the Super Bowl campaign, including the 60-second spot in which sheep belt out Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” choir style, when the farmer isn’t around.

“It’s a very unique feature,” Honda’s avp of marketing, Tom Peyton, told Adweek last week in an interview. “Nobody else has it. And it’s a little tough to communicate—although we will in some advertising later this spring, when the truck’s at the dealers. It’s not actually speakers. It’s ‘exciters’ that makes the whole bed a speaker. It’s pretty cool. … It would make a great tailgate vehicle.”

That particular Queen song got a nice revival in December, when Jordan Smith performed it on NBC’s The Voice in December. But Peyton also deadpanned: “It was the only song the sheep knew.”

The humor is broad and cartoony, which Peyton says is just right for the environment. “We aren’t the first come out with dogs or horses or puppies [on the Super Bowl],” he says. “But it is the one property where people truly tune in to see the commercials. And this is certainly playing to that type of content they’re looking for.”

Honda has only sat out a couple of Super Bowls over the past decade, and Peyton says it remains a solid investment if you have something special to sell.

“You only make the trip to the big game if you have a message that is noteworthy,” he says. “And we firmly believe our return to the midsize truck market with a new, restyled Ridgeline is a great opportunity to get that message out. And we certainly think an investment in the Super Bowl is worthwhile.” 

• For more Super Bowl 50 news, check out Adweek’s Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.

Client: American Honda Motor Co.
Title: “A New Truck To Love”

Agency: RPA
EVP, CCO: Joe Baratelli  
SVP, ECD: Jason Sperling  
Creative Director/Art: Brent Singer  
Sr. Art Director: Matthew Pullen  
Sr. Art Director: Amy Servidea  
Sr. Copywriter: Chris Bradford  
Sr. Copywriter: Audrey Attal  
SVP, Chief Production Officer: Gary Paticoff  
VP, Executive Producer: Isadora Chesler  
Sr. Producer: Eva Ellis  
VP, Director of Business Affairs: Maria Del Homme  
EVP, Management Account Director: Brett Bender  
VP, Group Account Director: Adam Blankenship  
VP, Management Supervisor: Cathy O’Gorman  
Account Supervisor: Jacob Gentry  
Account Executive: Chris Varela  
Account Executive: Christina Contreras  
SVP, Group Strategic Planning Director: Christian Cocker  
Associate Director, Strategic Planning: Nargis Pirani  
Sr. Strategic Planner: Elissa Murch  
Program Manager: Melissa Heitman  
Production Company: Hungry Man
Director: Bryan Buckley
Executive Producer: Mino Jarjoura
Director of Photography: Scott Henriksen
Producer: Emily Skinner
Production Designer: David Skinner
Costume Designer: Michelle Martini

Editorial: Union Editorial
Editor: Jim Haygood
Managing Partner: Michael Raimondi
Executive Producer: Lisa Johnson
Executive Producer: Joe Ross
Assistant Editor: Drew Johnson

VFX & Design: The Mill
Executive Producer: Leighton Greer
Sr. Producer: Chris Harlowe
Production Coordinator: Mary Hayden & Samantha Hernandez
Shoot Supervisor: Robert Sethi, Felix Urquiza & Glyn Tebbutt
Executive Creative Director: Phil Crowe
Creative Director: Robert Sethi
2D Lead Artist: Glyn Tebbutt
3D Lead Artist: Felix Urquiza
Animation Lead Artist: Blake Guest
Animation Supervisor: Jacob Bergman
2D Artists: Ben Smith, Ashley Forbito, Jake Albers, Jale Parsons, Peter Sidoriak, Sam Evenson, Tommy Smith
3D Artists: Matthew Fuller, Justin Murphy, Philippe Moine, Matthew Kavanagh, Dave Vander Pol, Richard Bailey, Alice Panek Temp, Tracie Cotta, Jason Jansky, Tamara Garabedian, Jenna Kind, Ziye Liu, Katie Yoon, Anthony Thomas, Majid Esmaeili, Sean Comer, Steven Olson, Martin Rivera
Matte Painting: Andy Wheater, Gillian George

Color: The Mill
Executive Producer, Colour: Thatcher Peterson
Colour Producer: Diane Valera

Production Coordinator, Colour: Jackson Rodgers
Colorist: Adam Scott

Music: “Somebody to Love”
Written by Freddie Mercury
(c) 1976 Queen Music LTD.
All Rights controlled by EMI Music Publishing, administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Performed by Queen.
Courtesy of Hollywood Records.

Re-Record & Sound Design: Beacon Street Studios
Executive Producer: Adrea Lavezzoli

Mix: Lime Studios

Re-recording Mixer: Dave Wagg
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan 


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About the Author

Tim Nudd

is creative editor at Adweek.


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