Ad Campaign for the Honda Ridgeline Amusingly Unites Truck Features with Unlikely Characteristics

Spots Have Fun with the Serious, "Tough Truck," "Bigger Is Better" Attitude of the Category

Santa Monica, Calif., Oct. 3, 2007 — An integrated national advertising campaign for the Honda Ridgeline began Sept. 29. The strategy developed by Honda's long-standing agency of record, RPA, creates a distinct image and personality for the Ridgeline and continues to raise awareness for the truck. Humorous spots differentiate Ridgeline within the category to promote its unique and innovative qualities.

The Honda Ridgeline seamlessly blends traditional truck attributes—strength, power and ruggedness—together with innovative, non-traditional truck attributes—intelligence, class, spaciousness and handling. "We wanted to dramatize the meeting of these two worlds in interesting ways that would stand out in a sea of mostly machismo-driven truck ads," said Seth Prandini, copywriter at RPA. In each of the four spots, symbolic representations of traditional and non-traditional truck qualities meet up unexpectedly:

  • Chuck Norris walks into a Victorian-era tea room: Tough meets Classy.
  • A real Wisconsin lumberjack floats freely in outer space: Rugged meets Spacious.
  • A saxophone player (LeRoi Moore of Dave Matthews Band) riffs on a fishing boat in rough seas: Rough meets Smooth.
  • A father carves the Thanksgiving turkey with a futuristic laser knife: Tradition meets Innovation.

"Life isn't one dimensional, so it was important that the ads' fun juxtapositions highlighted the Ridgeline's multi-functionality above anything else," said Hobart Birmingham, art director at RPA. The positioning for Ridgeline, "Bold Innovation," stems from advancements the truck has brought to the category, e.g. In-Bed Trunk™, dual-action tailgate and car-like handling and targets affluent males.

The Ridgeline spots have presence in high-profile national sports broadcast, cable and cable sports programming. Print reaches out to Ridgeline's target consumer by differentiating Ridgeline and positioning the truck as upscale and innovative.

A national outdoor media buy including NHL arenas will further boost visibility in markets throughout the country. The online plan will reach the male Ridgeline target year-round on sports Web sites with sponsorships and placements surrounding in-season sports.

Creative Credits
Creative Directors: Joe Baratellli, David Smith
Art Director: Hobart Birmingham
Copywriter: Seth Prandini
Agency Producer: Randy Morton
Production Company & Location: MJZ, Los Angeles, CA
Director: Rocky Morton
Director of Photography: Julian Whatley
Editor & Company: Erin Nordstrom, Cut and Run
Music/Sound Design: Machine Head

About Honda Ridgeline
Honda's first pickup truck has made one thing perfectly clear—the stakes are raised. The Ridgeline is a powerful, tough and super-capable rig with some cool surprises never seen in a pickup, like its dual-action tailgate and its big, lockable In-Bed Trunk™. Under the hood, Honda high-tech puts 247 horsepower and 245 lb.-ft. of torque underfoot for authoritative launches and gutsy acceleration. Advanced engineering is behind the 3.5-liter V-6 engine's blend of surprising fuel efficiency, low emission and abundant power—all on regular-grade gas. Ridgeline has a reinforced, rigid unit body, innovative airbags, sophisticated stability systems and more.

About RPA
RPA, headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., is the largest independent advertising agency based on the West Coast, with more than $1 billion in billings. RPA builds momentum for brands by offering its clients truly integrated campaigns that resonate throughout its disciplines, which include traditional advertising, interactive, and direct and event marketing. RPA also serves as a media planning and buying agency for clients such as MGM, Lenox Financial Mortgage and Zatarain's. For more information, visit http://www.rpa.com.