Honda wanted to make a big splash with the 2012 CR-V, so they challenged us to create a Super Bowl spectacle. Something that people would love. Something that would light up the Internet before, during and after the game. And something that made sense for Honda and the CR-V.
Months before the Super Bowl, we had launched a fully integrated CR-V campaign called “The Leap List.” It centered around the human understanding that there are things people want to do in life before they take that big leap into adulthood…when things get all “serious.” It was a huge cross-media campaign, and we needed our Super Bowl idea to be connected to it, but not restrained by it.
That’s when we thought of Ferris Bueller. A timeless character adored by millions, and whose famous day off perfectly embodies the essence of our Leap List campaign.
Our idea depicted a present-day Matthew Broderick playing hooky from work, driving around Los Angeles in his CR-V. We were very careful, though; people have enormous love for John Hughes’ classic movie, and we had to show it profound, authentic respect. So, we paralleled classic moments from the original and scattered in nearly 40 Easter eggs. We transformed the spot from mere entertainment to an engaging treasure hunt for the huge, built-in fan base.
We rolled out the spot in three phases, and phase one was an unprecedented move. We released a mysterious, un-branded 10-second Ferris teaser with just the February date of the Super Bowl at the end. People went crazy for it. The press went crazy trying to guess what it was all about. In three days, it received four million views, and it was the #1 shared video on YouTube.
A week before the game, we revealed that Honda was behind the hype when we released an extended version of the commercial to eager viewers. The video was over two minutes of fun with Ferris, and lit up the Internet again: 12 million views in a week. Thousands of websites ran our story. Honda, Ferris and Matthew Broderick were three of the top U.S. Twitter trends. Every major news source in America ran part or all of the spot. We couldn’t have asked for more, and all of this happened before the game kicked off.
Then came game day. Our :60 commercial stole the show — and our approach to the release of the ad changed the game for years to come. And the best part was that Honda felt the success. In one week, shopping activity on Honda’s website tripled and dealers reported February as the CR-V’s best sales month ever.