Friday, June 13, 2008

Polly Want a Punchline?

Honda has a new ad campaign going on right now for their 2008 Element. This is a series of commercials and print ads that are supposed to be both cute and clever (I guess). And because nature and a variety of animal images are involved in the campaign, the Honda motor company can evoke two current much-valued, yet potentially contradictory, buyer impulses: the desire to drive a rugged outdoorsy set of wheels that can go anywhere and the desire to own an eco-friendly vehicle. (Even the name, "Element," conjures images of goodness, greenness, and the natural world.)

Like the car or no, there are some of their ads that make me wonder. Like the one below. This is a print version of a video ad (that can be found on their Website) that just doesn't jibe. I know that the gist of this exchange between the parrot and the Element is supposed to be that the latter actually has a 270-watt stereo, which the parrot obviously does not. But if the car is the one who is speaking first in each of these panels, and the parrot is only parroting what the car says, and nothing more, then why is he silent in the last panel? Isn't a parrot going to parrot whatever is said to it, regardless of logic and believability? Why can't the parrot ask the Element--before the Element asks the parrot--if it has the 270-watt stereo, to which the car could answer, "Well certainly, my fine feathered friend...and potential buyer reading this ad!"? Of course the parrot doesn't have the stereo, but isn't there a more clever way to make this point in an purportedly clever ad? Maybe I'm just thinking about this too much, but the ad just doesn't work for me.

Still, cool car.

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