Ever since Mum and Dad had his ‘n’ hers Honda Civics back in 1987, Hondas have failed to represent anything special or alluring for me. They were the cars my folks had, in which school runs were made and I had to sit next to the loud guy with the mushroom hairdo in my class whose mum was friends with mine but who I silently hated. Those daily ordeals were the Honda’s fault. Dad’s upgrade to a grey (ex-showroom) Accord EXi did nothing to dispel the domesticity of the Honda, nor was his subsequent (e-showroom) V-tec Accord.
Hondas were made-in-Japan mundanity. They were reliability without the German industrial ingenuity that made the Volkswagen attractive. They were safe without the cold Nordic hardness of a square-cornered Volvo. They were value-for-money without getting bang for your buck. They were average, lacking any identity or defining feature, other than that you didn’t really have to worry about them. Superintendent Chalmers drove one.
When a friend’s father squandered his mid-lifer on a Honda S2000 convertible, inwardly I snorted that he had blown his one shot at a Mustang on souped-up Japanese droid. In fact, the only Honda I’ve ever raised an eyebrow at was a 1985 Shadow 500, but by the time I got around to riding motorbikes, Honda had managed to make even the Shadow line look saggy and overweight.
All of which is why I think the above Honda ad is the best ad of the last ten years, because it makes me identify the brand with freedom and adventure and happiness. None of which makes any sense, given my personal history with Honda. But fuck it, what a glorious piece of advertising this is. It’s worth watching again and again.