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Welcome to my Site

29 Nov

This site is dedicated to researching Honda’s “The Cog” advert and all of the elements that created it, affected it and its effects on society and the World.

It has the fruits of my research, including many videos meant to support my arguments and keep this site interesting and interactive.

I want people to enjoy their time on my website, so please enjoy the media available to you because it should always be viewed when reading the blog its attached to.

I also designed an interactive XMind – I-map [31]

[JPEG screenshot uploaded by Peter Dukes to confirm state at deadline]

Copy that link into your browser to view the interactive mindmap.This is to help people navigate my site and to show the connections between my many posts. Its simple to use simply click outline then one of the Topics and it will take you to the related blog post or video.

That being said browse away and enjoy your time on my site


Writing plan for critical review

29 Nov

My research has brought me thus far and has left me with a few bigger questions which I will choose to write my critical review about. These are: What was The Cogs effect on the UK advertising market. How did it affect its target audience? I think these two questions should be argued from the positive effects to the negative effects on the advertising industry and also the effects on the public. This should be interesting to investigate now that I have enough material to reference within my blog. I should also consider during my conclusion how successful it was overall. This will help me to understand how it was perceived by the public. I shall try to keep my arguments concise and to the point. I will have to limit my referencing to small quotes or simply a hyperlink to the article I’m talking about. It should be structured similarly to my posts: introduction, main body of text arguing for and against both points, supporting evidence and conclusion. It should be like an essay that will be interesting to read and reflect my views and findings about the Cog on these two questions.

Who is the voiceover artist in The Cog?

28 Nov


The narrator for the Honda Cog was none other than Garrison Keillor. Who is an American author, storyteller, humourist and radio personality. He hosts a few radio shows but more importantly he has been called upon by Honda to narrate their adds. He does have a very distinctive voice. Kind of like David Attenborough . That people can recognise and say “I know that voice he was in one of Honda’s Ads. Still most people don’t know him by name. He was chosen probably because his voice is clear, deep, distinctive, resonant kind of growl. He was not only in Cog but also in Honda’s Grr ad and you may hear his voice in the next World Cup saying “Come on, England, keep the dream alive.” If Honda continues to use him this will help to solidify their brand identity and his voice will be no longer linked to him but to Honda when heard by the public. This is a strategy employed to give adverts a personality.

Considering the complete lack of humans in the ad this is quite interesting. His words in the Cog were “Isn’t it nice when things just work?” which kind of sounds like some of his other quotes but I’m sure was given to him by the creators of the ad. The phrase is meant to give the viewers human reassurance of the quality and reliability of the Honda Accord. People often like it when there is that human touch in a product. Handmade products are often higher in value than their mass produced substitutes. Without this simple statement the advert would be incomplete and a bit empty and hollow it gives it that feel that yes it was made by humans and it will work. Quite a nice touch to the ad.

I found a few quotes from him that are quite funny and meaningful at the same time:

“Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.”[8]

“A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded pistol on your coffee table – There’s nothing wrong with them, but it’s hard to stop thinking about it.”[8]

“Sometimes you have to look reality in the eye, and deny it.”[8]

All quotes of Garrison Keillor

Wieden & Kennedy

28 Nov
The Dark Side of advertising by Jennings & Kalleres employees of Wieden+Kennedy[10]

Another big influence on Honda’s Cog is the advertising agency that helped create and develop the campaign behind the Cog which is called Wieden+Kennedy. Which is a rather unique and interesting agency in itself because it is one of the largest independently owned advertising agencies in the World. It produces high quality ads that sometimes have a rippling effect on changing the Worldwide conventions or perspectives on advertising. As a result of their work with Honda and Nike they have won some quite prestigious awards such as Global Agency of the Year. I had a look at their site, their blogs and their work. They are very different to most other advertising agencies. They’re not just about making money and cheap adverts like most other agencies which are similar to prostitutes in the fact that if you pay them enough they will do anything to make their customers happy. I haven’t seen any substandard ads in their repertoire of created work. However what I did see was that not only do they create interactive ads but they’re going 3D with their next adds for Honda called example there’s one called RGB. I would describe their agency as modern, interesting, creatively led, well-funded, respected and a trend setter instead of a follower in the field of advertising.

They value creativity and ideas much more than just making money. They have offices all around the world, including Amsterdam, London, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai and Delhi. Which If you think about it is a very strategic placement into the Worlds fastest growing markets for production of goods and services. I can see that they value intelligence, creativity, art, and people with ideas for the future. I think I should go for a job interview there someday. They also encourage people and help people to kick-start their ideas with their incubator program which operates from their offices around the World. This is an example of how the agency keeps itself updated. They seem to value their employees quite a lot because they want you to know who they are and who work for them and what they do. Most agencies don’t do this. Then again most agencies don’t get seven gold awards and one silver at the BTAA Craft Awards either. So they have a winning formula in the way they work.

I bet their think tank board meetings are a fascinating process to see. Generally speaking an advert takes formation around a table as some of the sharpest and creative minds of the company bounce ideas off each other on how they want to make their next project. The manager will first give everyone the brief detailing what the customer is asking us to do or what the project is. Then they ask everyone if they have any ideas to contribute and ideas begin to bounce around the room. Some are rejected as invalid some will stick and be written into the minutes. They then take the most promising ideas and turn them into motions or tasks which they then delegate to the operations department to research and work in collaboration with the creative director and the graphical designers.

I remember spending afternoons bouncing ideas off my friend Zackary who was the graphical designer and as I bounced an idea off him sometimes he would quickly put together a visualization of what he thought I was talking about with his own style. We would then discuss this for a while before moving on to the next part of the ad we are working on. Ads are not simple. Careful thought goes into every element. The text the colour, idea, runtime, placement and many other factors so we often work on small sections of the add sort of like a grid so that we can consider one piece carefully. Our manager and the creative directors would often drop into the office to check our progress and then offer some insight on how to improve it. He would also stay in contact with the client during the creative process and ask them their opinions on certain aspects. Usually by the end of the week or sooner we would have a prototype of the ad ready for viewing by the customer who have a chance to tell us their thoughts on how the ad looks, and to suggest any changes before printing and distribution process starts. This is an example of how adverts are made. The company I worked for was the leading advertising agency in Grenada but tiny in comparison to Wieden+Kennedy.

An advertising agency is only as good as the creative minds within the company. I think that’s why this company thrives today because it actively seeks out people who are creative, hires them, trains them, educates them, uses them, helps them to further their ideas, and to share them with the World. What better medium than through advertising. They even have their own ad school where they teach people to make the ads they create. Most companies would consider this trade a secret but they seem quite happy to share with the World because they are very intertexual with most of their work using older ideas or footage to create new media. So why not give back to the World more than we take out makes sense seeing as creating one ad often leads to a multitude of ideas that can be used to create new ads or projects.  This is a highly organized, efficient and one of the best examples of a modern advertising agency that I have seen in a while. I respect the way that they think and the way they want themselves to be seen by the World take a look for yourself at some of their work in the attached video.

The video is a theatrical depiction of how an advert is made within Wieden and Kennedy and is quite funny but will show you the basic process of how an ad is made.


The Power of Dreams

27 Nov



“The solar-hybrid Honda 14 solves the carpooling dilemma because it allows carpoolers to take advantage of HOV lanes, share commuting costs and once near the passengers’ final destinations, robotically transforms from one to four separate and unique modes of transportation.
Through a combination of gyros, artificial intelligence and molecular engineering, each individual vehicle instinctively reconfigures as a fully functional vehicle. When traveling as one, the division points are undetectable. The latest advancements in molecular engineering allow the body panels to divide and reshape to form each individual vehicle.
Honda Research & Development”[12]

Dreams are a powerful inspirational force in this World. Dreams of flight inspired people to invent the airplane for example. Honda’s add Campaign the Power of Dreams is a way of Honda creating an advertising campaign without them being tied into the conventions that we normally see. They want to show their customers not only their products that exist, but their dreams about products that can be. technology that is just beyond our reach but that we are working towards Honda aspires to not only make cars but inventions for the future. They want they’re consumers to be in awe of what they might create. Which is a clever way of creating interest and attracting the attention of customers all over the world. They have made a multitude of powerful and well designed adds not only about cars but their inventions. Showing their creativity to the World. Dreams have no limits and inspire ideas which in turn inspire people to create things.

Honda taps into the power of the word dreams and this is something that most people will be able to relate to because we all dream and it reminds me of my own dreams of futuristic technologies that I have in my sketchbooks. It inspires people to think of the possibilities beyond the mundane and gives us a sense of curiosity about the future. They support their  campaign with documentaries, inventions, technology advertising and actually doing what the ad campaign states. Exploring the possibilities of the technologies we have now and the possibilities for the future.

This is a healthy motto or way of thinking in this era where there is the constant need for us to evolve and change with the times to keep up to date. Car companies like Chrysler and Ford had serious financial difficulties at the start of the recession because they hadn’t evolved fast enough and they were too comfortable in their ways. But if you aspire to go seek out what the future has in store for us and invest in it you will be up to date and or even better a leader in the field you are in. Which is what Honda has gained by doing so.

I will now quote a more detailed explanation of Honda’s Power of Dreams campaign so that you can hear in their own words what they hope to achieve.

“Everyone has a dream, some goal or activity that gives their life deeper meaning and sparks passion.
When we pursue our dreams, we feel empowered. This power, in turn, connects us to others who share the same dreams. It gives us the strength to overcome great challenges. It inspires us to spread the joy of our dreams to other people. Ultimately, the power born of a dream is a creative force, capable of producing revolutionary ideas.
Honda encourages all its associates to pursue their dreams. That’s why we say we are a company built on dreams. The power of Honda’s dreams will continue to lead to new insights and technologies in automobiles, motorcycles, power products, parts and other fields of mobility.”[13]

Here’s an interesting article written on RPA website explaining the campaign better and supporting what I said before.

“New Honda Corporate “The Power of Dreams” Advertising Campaign Captures the Magic of the Brand [14]

Santa Monica, Calif., Sept. 20, 2007 — A fully integrated national advertising campaign embracing Honda’s corporate theme line, “The Power of Dreams,” begins Sept. 24. The strategy developed by Honda’s long-standing agency of record, RPA, gives consumers a poignant perspective of Honda’s long-term corporate philosophy and an understanding of what motivates the company.

Known for selling practical, reliable vehicles, Honda seeks to reveal the brand’s innovation and connect consumers to its heart and soul. The communications strategy invites consumers to understand the challenging spirit that has enabled Honda to be the pioneer on a number of fronts, including environment, safety and automotive and mobility technologies.

“This Honda Power of Dreams campaign is our personal way of sharing who we are and what we stand for,” said Barbara Ponce, manager of corporate advertising for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “But, we’re not simply talking about Honda, we’re letting our actions, our products and our dreams speak for us. The home video format keeps it real, and at the same time opens new doors and perspectives that customers can discover for themselves at”

One spot focuses on many of Honda’s worldwide innovative dream products, many of which are not familiar to the average automobile customer. Viewers are invited into Honda’s world of dreams to see what they see. The Who’s “I Can See for Miles” builds as the spot unfolds. Another spot begins in November and will highlight Honda’s environmental technology.

“Honda has an amazing vision for what’s possible—whether it’s the future of mobility, eco-friendly technology, safety, air travel, or even robotics. The idea of the ‘See What We See’ spot is to invite people to share in Honda’s unique vision by bringing several of Honda’s ‘dreams realized’ together in an engaging, conceptual way,” said Todd Carey, associate creative director at RPA.

Targeting adults 25-to-49 years old, the corporate campaign will launch on network TV during season premieres of many new and highly rated returning shows, including Brothers & Sisters, Dancing with the Stars, Caneand Chuck. Spots will also run on Major League Baseball playoffs, the World Series, nearly 30 cable networks and National Public Radio (NPR). Cable and NPR will sustain the campaign after the launch period.

Several cable networks have special features including National Geographic Channel’s Preserve Our Planet. Using isolated positioning of custom-branded vignettes, this programming aligns with The Power of Dreams philosophy by communicating Honda’s commitment to providing a cleaner environment for future generations.

Print carrying the “See What We See” theme begins in October. To support and sustain awareness generated by TV, synergistic print and online opportunities were secured with ESPN, O the Oprah Magazine, Rolling Stone andWired, whose readerships align with Honda’s key target segments.

Integrating The Power of Dreams theme, interactive media is a significant part of the campaign and features an engaging microsite at Users are invited to explore a myriad of Honda’s dreams in a deeper and more personal way. Dreams found in the spot and others including CVCC, Civic GX and Phill and 4-stroke marine engine can be discovered in greater detail with pictures, videos and related links. Users will get an inside look at Honda’s past, present and future dreams and will learn how they came to be.

To build momentum, online media includes high-impact, high-reach home-page roadblocks on AOL, CBS, CNET, Forbes, Time and YouTube. The campaign will run on 17 major Web sites in relevant content categories such as news, community, environment, technology and sports. The creative will utilize rich-media ad units to increase brand interaction and showcase the TV spots.

Google site targeting and search marketing will extend the reach and drive traffic to The Power of Dreams microsite.

Creative Credits
Campaign: American Honda Motor Co., Inc., The Power of Dreams
Creative Directors: Joe Baratelli & David Smith
Associate Creative Director/Art Director: Curt Johnson
Associate Creative Director/Copywriter: Todd Carey
Interactive Art Director: Luis Ramirez
Interactive Copywriter: Dan Roberts
Agency Producer: Brian Donnelly
Production Company & Location: MJZ, Los Angeles, CA
Director: Phil Joanou
Director of Photography: Jeff Cutter
Editor & Company: Robert Duffy, SpotWelders
Music/Sound Design: 740 Sound Design”

If you would like to see a short documentary detailing some of Honda’s ideas and concept. Truly amazing I would recommend that my readers watch it to gain a better understanding of the “Power of Dreams” click the link below.

Enjoy Winking smile

What other people influenced the making of The Cog and how so?

24 Nov

I found a juicy piece of research material while following up on where a particular statement was referenced and I found an interview with Matt Gooden and Ben Walker! It answers allot of the questions I wanted to raise. The article was not so well written as it is from a website called but I replaced the abbreviations he was using for the names to make it more understandable. I think this could be very useful to me when I am writing the rest of my blog and I see how it will make me have to modify some of my posts to incorporate the data. This is to be viewed as primary research material because it is an interview and it does cover many questions that are relevant to my investigation. Hence instead of quoting bits and pieces and commenting on it I will just quote the whole article and reference back to it with my other posts.

Here is the article: [15]

“ speaks with the creators of “Cog”, Wieden+Kennedy’s

Matt Gooden and Ben Walker.

By Christopher Wynne,
May 28th, 2004

I caught up with the creators of the much applauded and equally controversial COG to discuss the work, what inspired it and some of the controversy that has resulted. My first surprise upon walking into Wieden + Kennedy’s London office was the absolute lack of anything COG or award show related. No Clio on the desk, no Cannes Lion on the shelf, no framed articles on the wall. If you didn’t know it walking in, there was nothing there that would tip you off to the fact that this office was the birthplace of the ad that won just about every major advertising award under the sun since last June’s Cannes Lion. My second surprise was how modest and down to earth the ad’s art director (Matt Gooden) and copywriter (Ben Walker) were. If I was expecting the creative minds behind the year’s most talked about work to be a bit full of themselves and their accomplishments, I was quickly disappointed.
Christopher Wynne: Where did the inspiration for COG come from? Who came up with the idea?
Matt Gooden: That’s me. [laughing]
Ben Walker: Mousetrap was clearly in our minds. The brief focused on engineering and the beauty of design. We thought it would be cool to do something with a chain reaction. We researched hundreds of them. Of course we also viewed the movie (Fischli and Weiss’ “The Way Things Go”) that everyone talks about us taking the idea from.
Christopher Wynne: Have you been surprised or taken aback by the controversy?
Ben Walker: There was some media and industry people saying not great things but the majority of the response has been very positive.
Christopher Wynne: Is there any truth to the fact that Cog is a rip off Fischli and Weiss’ work?
Ben Walker: We looked at every piece of work that we could find that had anything to do with a chain reaction. We got ideas from all of them. I do regret the section with the tires. That was the one part that was a direct lift from the movie. We did get a letter from the artist but they knew there was no basis for a lawsuit. There was also a pretty big piece written up in the press about Wieden + Kennedy being sued, but it wasn’t true.
Christopher Wynne: Are you surprised by all of the buzz and talk Cog has created?
Ben Walker: I was really surprised. Not as much from the industry but by all of the media coverage and the interest from everyday consumers. I didn’t think ads could really be that powerful to the general public.
Christopher Wynne: When did you know that Cog would be something special?
Ben Walker: When we wrote the script.
Christopher Wynne: Okay, how did you get started considering how daunting the task must have seemed?
Matt Gooden: By taking apart the car.
Ben Walker: The engineers and special effects guys played with parts for over a month. To get a really good director we had to sketch it out pretty far to show that we were serious about doing something really big and different.
Christopher Wynne: Were there any great ideas that you guys just couldn’t pull off?
Matt Gooden: We wanted to do something with the airbag [see the sketches]. We were thinking about the front end hitting into the rear end but we were only given 5 sections of the car so we couldn’t risk it. The car itself wasn’t really built yet so everything was still right out of the design areas. Nothing was in production. We also were thinking about doing something with a Garfield doll, but we didn’t [laughing].
Christopher Wynne: What was Honda’s reaction when you pitched them the concept?
Ben Walker: They were pretty encouraging. I think they saw the potential pretty quickly. They’re a very forward thinking company. They always want to talk about the future, not their past accomplishments or work.
Christopher Wynne: Do you think it helped Honda sell more cars?
Ben Walker: Definitely. Their website broke records the day after it aired. Their site became the second largest automotive site overnight.
Christopher Wynne: Other than all of the awards its won, has Cog been a success for W+K? Have you brought in new clients as a result?
Ben Walker: Yes and no. We’re probably not the right people to ask that question. I think maybe there have been more inquiries but in the end most marketing directors at big advertisers don’t know who’s created specific ads.
Christopher Wynne: Unless they go to, of course. Do you think you’ve raised the bar for yourself and other agencies? Are advertisers now asking for their own Cog?
Ben Walker: We heard something from some insiders that Nissans was asking TBWA about it. Nothing confirmed of course. I think every client just wants to have a brilliant ad. Whether it be a Cog or something else.
Matt Gooden: One friend that’s at another agency said to me ‘If I have to hear that one more time..’
Christopher Wynne: Does winning so many awards and over such a long period of time signify that creative ideas have slowed or is Cog just that good?
Matt Gooden: It is that good.
Ben Walker: I saw that there were some people on commenting on it. I’m going to have to go on there and give my two cents.
Christopher Wynne: How do you top this?
Ben Walker: You just have to constantly raise your standards. I think before we were pretty happy when we came up with a good idea. Now we’re always thinking about how we’re going to make a good idea better”


How was the Honda Cog advertising campaign viewed by the public?

22 Nov


I asked myself this question as I surfed the net looking for information. On Honda and found a really well written article on how the add affected the public. from and I wanted it to be from a good source. I found an article which was very helpful. It is very short and precise, easy to read and I found it on which is a great site for researching advertising and the way it affects the public.

Here’s some thing I look for in a site, a mission statement or an explanation of what the site is so that I can asses how relevant it is as a source of material.

Thinkbox is the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, in all its forms. Its shareholders are  Channel 4, Five, GMTV, ITV, Sky Media and Turner Media Innovations who represent over 90% of commercial TV advertising revenue through their owned and partner TV channels.  Thinkbox works with the marketing community with a single ambition: to help advertisers get the best out of today’s TV.”[17]

Very well constructed site for those of you interested in advertising. Here is a direct quote of the article I mentioned before.

“Honda Cog [18]

“Using DiTV to extract greater media value and increase exposure


When an advertiser has powerful content it is important to bring it to as wide an audience as possible. Honda Cog shows how Interactive TV (iTV) can be used to extend the power and value of a traditional TV campaign and generate a significant return on investment.


Honda is an iconic brand. The advertising ideas are inspired by ‘The Power of Dreams’. Most Honda TV ads are events in themselves and the “Cog” execution was no exception. The advert showed a continuous movement created by parts from the Honda Accord.

The full length ad lasted for two minutes and was a masterpiece. It took 656 takes and a huge budget.

However, the nature of TV airtime meant that the two minute ad received few airings with the majority of the campaign being the 30 second cut down.

Campaign Aims

Interactive TV was to form part of a multi-media campaign intended to maximise the exposure of the creative work thereby increasing interest in the Honda Brand and ‘The Power of Dreams’. Weapon7’s approach was a simple one. We wanted to show the full length ad more often on TV and distribute DVD’s containing the content to viewers.


In this case the content was king. The iTV application was designed to show the ad at its best whilst still being affordable.

The design played the two minute ad in full aspect ratio giving it a filmic quality. Viewers could then choose to order a brochure or DVD without interrupting their viewing. In this way we effectively increased the exposure of the two minute film using 30 second airtime.


Over ¼ million people “pressed red” to spend more time with the Honda brand.

97% of viewers rated their experience positively with an average dwell time of 2½ minutes. A significant minority spent up to 10 minutes watching the ad.

In addition, over 10,000 people requested a DVD or brochure, equating to a response rate of 0.32% – five times the car category average.

Honda has used this data to arrange a significant number of test drives.

Valuing the business leads and the (discounted) airtime equivalent we can demonstrate that we created a return on investment of over 200% at a time when bandwidth was significantly more expensive than the current market rate.

Thanks to Weapon7 for providing this case study.”

I did some background checks on other sites and the info seems solid. Honda really was a huge success story in the advertising industry and for Honda as an investment. The main aim of an advert is to instil some kind of response from the customer to influence them to act on what they are viewing. The responses to the Honda advert were amazing.

Cog was first aired on British television on Sunday 6 April 2003. It filled an entire commercial break in ITV‘s coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix.[10] The release was widely remarked upon by the media, including articles in The Daily Telegraph,[2] The Independent,[17] and The Guardian.[18] The day after the first airing of Cog, the Honda website received more hits than at any time in its history, and overnight became the second largest automotive website.” [19]

The plan of making it an interactive advert was a brilliant idea. The most likely time when people will be interested in finding out more information on an advert is while they’re watching it. So adding that interactive function allowed the public to not only view the advert, but learn more about Honda, the Accord, and how they could purchase it. It may even pave the way for more interactive adverts to be aired on TV. I just hope they add a skip function for most adds we are so bombarded with useless adverts these days. Regardless the purpose of an advert is to create interest in a invoke interest in a product and then link it to relevant information. The Honda website is well made and is also an interactive experience with 360 viewing of their cars and brochures that are colourful interesting an informative. I now understand why the advert had such a big impact on its viewers. It was also backed up by Honda’s website which provided the enquiring mind with information on the car and a medium in which to buy it.

By making the advert interactive Honda provided themselves with a form of market research and a way of measuring peoples responses. Advertising companies charge allot for market research. I know because I used to do market research for Concepts Advertising for a car dealership company called Huggins on the customers views on their service and they’re latest products. Its a rather time consuming but interesting task calling up 120 numbers in a week and trying to get at least forty people to answer a quick survey and at least ten people to speak to face to face. Always interesting to hear some of peoples opinions but very time consuming and costly for the company because I did this every month then they compile the data at the end of the year into a review. Honda’s method of making it interactive means they can measure how many people pressed the red button and they’re responses to questions. They can also collect market research data from their site and where people click this is more efficient, precise and a easier way to collect data from customers all being instigated by one advert. “Killing two birds with one stone” so to say, this is a smart move on Honda’s part.

The video at the top of the post shows you some of the Honda accords new features and is quite nice because its of people filming & photographing the whole car. (yunusakdeniz 10 march 2008)

To finish up I wanted to see what is the Accord like to drive? As a car does it handle well what’s it like inside etc. We only get to see a few seconds of the whole car at the end so I sifted through the many videos of Honda reviews and found one that was aired just before the release of a new model of accord but it also shows the tourer version. It provides some insight into what the cars performance,looks and target market aspirations.

Honda Accord Review by Adrian Higgins. Source: [20]