Honda’s always been known as a leader in automotive safety. But when countless other automakers started making safety claims, Honda’s message became harder to distinguish. They needed to stand out again, and the Super Bowl was where they aimed to do it. But if they wanted to make a serious message like safety resonate in that ad frenzy, they’d have to play differently.

The Super Bowl is many things, but quiet is not one of them. And that’s where we saw the white space. When every other brand went loud and over the top, we went quiet and sincere, and we spoke directly to the moment.

But we weren’t just quiet. We spoke about vehicle safety in whole new terms. People. No statistics, no crash-test dummies. Just a connection to the special people you’re watching the game with. And that’s when the hugfest began. The spot’s message and hashtag took hold immediately. Instagram became a virtual #hugfest. It was Twitter’s 2nd-most-used hashtag during the game. And we kept the love going after the game. On Facebook, people could send their loved ones a hug video from Bruce Willis. We invited people to submit their hug photos for a personal assessment from Mr. Willis himself.

Once again, Honda stood out from the rest. Hugfest earned Honda and RPA a ton of press and impressions, but most important, millions of people associated their loved ones with Honda’s leadership in safety.

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