Honda The Other Side

- in CASE STUDIES, The Drum
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Across Europe, Honda Civic car sales were in decline. The model’s target audience of fathers saw Honda as reliable but boring, the safe option chosen for rational reasons. What they really wanted was a cool, sporty car.

Honda’s agency partner, Wieden+Kennedy, was given the mission to drive reappraisal of the Honda Civic for the launch of the Type-R in 2015.


Wieden+Kennedy consulted all the information they had about the Honda brand, the Civic model, and how and why fathers buy cars. They knew from Google research that 93% of people research cars online and 61% watch online films before purchase. They knew that, to drive re-appraisal, they would need to bring out ‘the other side’ of the Honda Civic – the racing-inspired Civic Type-R. And they wanted people to experience this feeling with some kind of online ‘test drive’.

This insight helped Wieden+ Kennedy hit upon the core idea of an interactive, double-sided story in which a father leads a double life. By day, he’s a Civic-driving, doting dad. By night, he’s a Civic Type-R-driving, undercover cop.

The agency created an interactive online film called ‘The Other Side’. It starts by showing a man calmly picking up his kids from school in a Honda Civic. But whenever you press ‘R’ on your computer keyboard, it switches to show the crazier, more impulsive side of the man’s life, driving the Honda Civic Type-R in an undercover police sting operation. The two interlinked stories run in perfect parallel, seamlessly transitioning between the underlying films at the viewer’s will.

To implement this entertaining web experience, a smooth and accurately synchronised playback with latency-free switching between the two films was required. Dedicated desktop, mobile and tablet versions were optimised to make this possible, working with interactive production partner Stinkdigital.


The Other Side branded content campaign was simultaneously launched in 22 regions across Europe, integrated directly in each market’s own Honda YouTube channel, yet accessible to all through a single global campaign web address.

Following The Other Side experience, viewers were encouraged to share the link on social networks before learning more about the Civic range on Honda’s product websites.




The Other Side intrigued participants with its parallel stories and satisfied them with the technique involved in telling the tales. The interactive content that literally put the viewer in the driving seat, very simply and effectively made them feel the two sides of the car.

The campaign fulfilled its mission to drive reappraisal of the Honda Civic. Consideration doubled when people pressed ‘R’ and experienced the other side. The average dwell time of 2 minutes 52 seconds was the entire length of the experience. In advertising evaluation research, the film scored 58% for captivation versus the car ad norm of 34%. And brand desire increased by 3% post-campaign.

This campaign marks a very significant time for our brand. The Civic Type-R is one of six new car launches for Honda in 2015 and provides a powerful halo effect for the marque. Just as our products are renowned for being innovative, our communications style will amplify this. By way of example, we are not aware of anyone else creating interactive user content in the same dramatic way, which should give it a very strong appeal.

Jemma Jones, Department Manager – European Marketing Communications, Honda Motor Europe Ltd 

The beauty of this idea is in the simplicity of the interaction. The simple act of pressing ‘R’ empowers the viewer to drive the film, toggling between the two stories. It’s very satisfying and addictive jumping from the Civic day world to the high-octane night world of the Type-R. It’s like going into race mode and putting your foot down. You get a sense of power and excitement. Through this we hope people will feel Honda’s other side as well as see it.

Scott Dungate, Creative Director,Wieden+Kennedy, London

This case study was originally published in the BOBCM Special D&AD Edition collaboration, co-edited by Justin Kirby and Greta MacFarlane.


About the author

Justin Kirby is a consultant, educator and thought leader with a 20+ year career in industry as a digital strategist, producer and entrepreneur. He chairs and speaks at conferences around the globe, judge industry awards, and advise brands and agencies.