W+K London defends foundation Honda account

Wieden+Kennedy London’s campaign for Honda is one of the most lauded of recent years, its ‘Grrr’ ad for Honda diesel winning a place in the CLIO Awards’ Hall of Fame recently (but that’s for ads five years old or more).

But now Campaign reports that Honda is reviewing its agencies to see who is going to handle the forthcoming £25m launch of the new honda CR-V, its compact 4×4 which is crucial to the Japanese manufacturer’s attempt to restore its market share, hit by the Japanese tsunami in the first place but also dogged by a shortage of attractive new models in a ferociously competitive marketplace.

W+K, which Honda says is still its European ‘agency of record,’ has also struggled to reach the heights of ‘Grrr’ and some other Honda ads (the company has never produced very many) of roughly the same vintage.

Here’s ‘Grrr.’

Here’s W+K’s latest Honda effort, for the Civic relaunch.

This was all part of a clever integrated campaign, ‘The Great Unknown,’ which garnered nearly four million YouTube hits, so job done? Yes and no, that’s a lot of eyeballs but is there enough car for them to look at?

Here’s Honda’s recent CR-V ad (presumably for the new car) in the States, featuring Matthew Broderick reprising his role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

This was voted the most-liked Super Bowl ad and has clocked up around 13m YouTube hits, so will US agency RPA be throwing its hat in the ring?

The search is being conducted by matchmakers of the moment, Oystercatchers, also embroiled in Tesco’s hunt for a new agency. It seems unusual to empoly such for a search of roster agencies, but there you go.

It’s a challenge for W+K London, which has been enjoying a good run recently with Cravendale and the choice of London ahead of Amsterdam to produce Nike’s Euro 2012 ad.

Honda must surely be influenced by the success of the Broderick ad, which deploys people, celebs and funny – not a combination London agencies (including W+K) have shown much enthusiasm for recently, preferring animation and whimsy.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.