2012 Honda Civic: As Exciting As A New Toothbrush?

April 25, 2011

Upon barking repeatedly at my children to brush their teeth and get to bed, I was handling the precision-engineered, ergonomically-designed, cavity-preventing Oral-B electric toothbrushes that 4 out of 5 dentists recommend, when I noticed that the brush heads needed replacing. I must prevent cavities and not enrich our dentist. So I did the usual -- I asked my wife where the new brush things were. Of course she said, “look under the sink, where they always are.” I felt shame.

So I peered in the cabinet and took out what I thought were replacement heads, examined them and wondered, how can you tell they're new? They look a little brighter, wider, and shinier. With brand-new colors to choose from so you can make sure you’re not sucking in anyone else’s germs. Not much else.

Which brings me to today’s subject of media deconstruction, the 2012 Honda Civic, a brand-new version of the very popular compact sedan that you see on every corner here in my high-gas-price hometown. These are highly reliable cars, hold their resale value very well, are very safe, are fuel-efficient and really engineered well. They are space efficient, handle well and come in standard 1.8-liter, 140-hp trim; a hot-motored 201-hp version, an HF version for 40+ mpg and a hybrid are on the way. Sedan and coupe are there for sedate and sporty drivers respectively.

Honda is giving buyers lots of choice so there are few reasons not to choose this car. I am sure it will appeal to the loyal Honda buyers and make them come back for more.

But will it bring new buyers into the showroom? Well, I have my doubts, largely because they look a lot like those refreshed toothbrush heads I mentioned earlier. As noted in a review in Automotive News recently, the competition has not only caught up, it some cases, especially design, they have surpassed the former small car champ (see Hyundai Elantra). So how does Honda stand out if the product seems only good enough?

Advertising. And some good advertising at that. Honda is really pushing the point that there is a Honda for any kind of person. And they are doing it with some clever humor too. Specifically, wrestlers, monsters, zombies and hairy woodsmen. Yes, you read that right. Not an accountant, homemaker or 20-something to be seen (well, maybe some slacker types in the Zombie episode).

There are three new ads to watch, with my favorites being the Woodsman ad, where there is some clear pop culture thievery from Family Guy where Peter has a family of birds nest in his beard, and the Zombie ad with appendages flying all over the place at the golfing range. Just brilliant! The ads are clearly filmed to showcase the cars, their features, and emphasize the message of a Civic for all. But best of all, the ad agency absolutely nailed it with their choice of music for each ad. The music, particularly for “To Each Their Own” with a Devo-esque beat and feel is wonderful stuff to make your ears perk up. The Woodsman ad also hits it on the head with folksy music, and the Zombie ad, well the fuzz guitars and funky beat make the ad move along perfectly. Well done, Honda! Nice to see you are back on your advertising game and looking forward to more of it.

Watch the ads below and have a good chuckle.

[Automotive News]

To Each Their Own


Date with a Woodsman

It's Good To Be a Zombie
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