Responses by Peter Drake, executive creative director, Digitas
Background: The one-minute film brings the Honda brand to life by using Honda F1 to recruit the next generation of drivers and advocates. It’s designed to appeal to both existing F1 fans and “active learners,” who are peripheral F1 viewers. It celebrates Honda’s position as motorsport trailblazers, undeterred racers, Japanese pioneers and ambitious innovators. We reactivated the “Powered by Honda” line to draw attention to Honda’s role in the 2019 F1 season, as the provider of power units to both the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Reasoning: We created a halo effect for the brand by celebrating the extraordinarily technologically diverse world of Honda—from lawnmowers, to F1, to aircrafts. With help from Mainframe, we produced a unique aesthetic for the piece that reflected both Japanese animation conventions and Honda’s own iconic color palette of white, black and red; while maintaining global appeal. All of our creative decisions reinforce Honda’s unique philosophy and heritage.
Challenges: Landing on a unique look and feel for the piece within time and budget constraints, as it was essential to create something that looked intrinsically like it could only have been made by Honda. We also sought to create a distinctive Honda soundscape that married the visceral sounds of the racing vehicles with a propulsive music composition, inspired by traditional Japanese Taiko drumming.
Favorite details: The level of detail in the shot of the rear of the 1960s racing car (the RA300) is absolutely beautiful. The bass drop that accompanies the landing of the Honda jet, and the transformation into the F1 cars is a moment of real drama. The sheer relentless energy and power of the music and imagery on the close-up shots of the F1 engine at the end of the of the animation—that’s the moment when people go “whoah…”
Visual influences: Japanese animations and manga—particularly Mobile Suit Gundam Wing; the beauty and line quality of Japanese calligraphy; and the fun and playfulness of Super Mario Kart.
Specific demands: The client was completely invested and supportive of the animation route and believed in us to deliver our vision—pushing us to push it further. The fact that animation is such a significant part of Japanese culture reassured the client that this solution would work, but also placed added significance on us to create a unique, authentic aesthetic that works both for the Japanese market and globally.