One thing about Honda’s “The Van Beckons” ad has driven me crazy for about a year now:
Why did I see it?
Clearly because it’s meant for me, but I can’t discern an obvious reason why. On the face it’s stupid and insulting (I saw it while watching hockey games, thinking “Is this what Honda thinks hockey fans are like?”).
A little more digging: Honda Odyssey minivans can run up to $50K, so it’s aimed at upper-middle class income households. Those households are likely educated enough to realize the commercial is stupid. So the ad is deliberately stupid to make the customer feel smarter than the ad. “Let’s distract you from how you feel you’re not smart enough to afford BMW’s SUV and instead talk about how you are smart enough to avoid that Adam Sandler movie …”
Also of note: it’s aimed at men, so no comparative info (men will do the research on their own). The minivan is the only car in the parking lot, framed like prey (overlap the shot of the jaguar just to emphasize that point). And, of course, no price shown because the targeted customer shops at J. Crew and Banana Republic (show that Jaguar again just to parallel it with another luxury brand).
The schlubby guy coming out of the grocery store, sent there by his wife to get cereal and milk for his kids, isn’t the target customer, but he’s establishing the plebian’s desire that drives the conspicious consumption the target customer chases.
There’s been a lot of chatter about what’s going on with this ad, but all of it has focused on the surface elements (Judas Priest! Explosions! They’re trying to make it sexy for men!) but I can’t help but think they’re missing the true message. Or I’m digging too deep and it’s just inept. Interpretations very much welcome and appreciated.