Honda Brings Celebrity Yearbook Photos to Life in Super Bowl Commercial

Tina Fey was hugging a red rose in her high school yearbook photo. Amy Adams just couldn’t keep her hair out of her face in hers. And Jimmy Kimmel, wearing a clown-sized bow tie and bright blue suit jacket, held a clarinet as the baby-faced member of his high school jazz band.

We only know this thanks to Honda’s fun and charming Super Bowl commercial, in which younger versions of nine prominent celebrities burst from the pages of their yearbooks. The rest of the cast includes Steve Carell, Viola Davis, Missy Elliott, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Stan Lee and Robert Redford.

The 60-second spot from benchmark Honda RPA was released on Thursday to coincide with “Throwback Thursday,” the weekly social media phenomenon that celebrates all things retro. Honda made some of the stars of the ad engage with fans on social media. On Sunday, the spot will air during the first commercial break of the second quarter of the match.

The announcement, part of the automaker’s long-running “Power of Dreams” campaign, aims to plug in the all-new 2017 Honda CR-V as the SUV celebrates its 20th anniversary.

“We hope a lot of people will jump on the bandwagon and post their own yearbook photos to help get this message across,” said Susie Rossick, Honda’s assistant vice president of automotive marketing.

How did it happen

Honda considered a variety of advertising concepts, but landed on the yearbook idea because it touched on the theme of “always chase your dream and never give up,” Rossick said. The first generation CRV appeared at the Super Bowl in 1997. The 2017 edition is “the culmination of the dreams of our engineers and designers,” she added. “Everything just fell into place.”

She credited RPA Executive Creative Director Jason Sperling with passionately pushing the concept because it had potential for extensions beyond TV commercials, like the performance of Throwback Thursday.

“There were a few ideas that we were looking at, and there was a long discussion about what was right and who would hit the car, what the brand, what emotion we wanted,” said Sperling. “At the end of the day, you don’t want to be in the Super Bowl if you don’t have something that you feel is brave that is going to stand out.”

The agency had an interesting casting strategy. He approached Hollywood’s top four talent agencies with the idea and the budget, and the company that came up with the best group would get their stars there. In the end, William Morris delivered the winning composition.

“It actually became a very difficult choice because there were so many amazing names that they put together,” Sperling said. “Ultimately it was about who felt good and how we expressed the best diversity in terms of gender, profession and age.”

A late addition, however, was Viola Davis, who is replaced by CAA. “I had been to a first screening of ‘Fences’ and just had a feeling she was going to be in the spotlight for the Oscars, which is only a few weeks away, so add that she was feeling great “said Sperling.

Old photos

Once they got the talent, the agency got their old photos, which were then placed in handy shots of real directories – collected from various staff at RPA, the spot’s production / post-production company and Honda. .

The biggest obstacle was to keep them alive. “We only had photos, and some weren’t even in high resolution,” Sperling said. “One of the biggest challenges was that it’s a dialogue-oriented piece, but it’s also an effects-oriented piece. It was really hard to determine, do we want a director of performance or do we want a effects pro that makes sure no one looks scary. We wanted to make sure people got the feeling at the end. “

The agency got both director Angus Wall, a versatile talent who won two Oscars for editing “The Social Network” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” as well as two Emmy Awards for creating the footage for. title of “Game of Thrones”. “and” Carnival “.

Sperling explained that getting the photos to do the talking was a trial and error process that benefited from Wall’s post-production expertise. “There were almost too many layers, from my pedestrian perspective,” he said. “We had a 3D camera, witness cameras, we had look-alikes that essentially delivered [the celebrities’] pre-recorded voiceovers. “