The Mind-Blowingly Vast Scale of Honda’s New Insight Commercial – “Let It Shine”
Honda’s new commercial for the 2010 Insight has a deceptively simple appearance. A series of shapes and patterns flash across what looks like an old Lite-Brite set, or maybe an LED panel, or perhaps even just a series of computer generated dots on the screen. It’s nice to look at and nice to listen to, due to the pretty music playing along. Simple and nice. The interesting part is that the flashing dots are actually the flashing headlights of 1,000 actual Honda Insights. One thousand full sized automobiles, arranged in a gigantic grid in such a way so they appear to be a perfect rectangle from the camera’s vantage point.
Check out the “Making of…” video near the end of this post:
The calming music used in the commercial is “This Little Light of Mine” by Berend Dubbe.
The commercial’s director, Erik Van Wyk, set out to film the ad entirely “in-camera” – a daunting task given what he wanted to show. According to the Van Wyk, he “was quite militant about doing it all in-camera using real lights in a gigantic grid. People sense the honesty in the sweat and commitment of other people, not CG.” Which is, of course, absolutely correct.
Filming something like the “Let It Shine” ad is extraordinarily complex. Given the way perspective works, you can’t just line up the cars and expect it to look right. The process includes a lot of math and a lot of trial and error. The crew apparently used laser sights, GPS, and surveyor’s equipment to get all the locations right. The heights and angles and exact distances had to be tweaked and re-tweaked to make sure everything was in the right place.
Van Wyk said of the final edit, “After all the research and precision planning required; seeing the test animation play out for the first time from camera position 61.5 meters up in the sky was inspiring. It was perfect”
The Making of the Commercial…
—Official Press Release—
Honda Shines Bright In New TV Ad To Support Affordable Hybrid Car
March 26, 2009 – Honda will debut its latest TV ad ‘Let it Shine’ in April to support the launch of its new hybrid car, the Insight. The advertisement is part of an integrated marketing campaign to work towards the company’s aim of environmental leadership across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) by 2015.
The 60, 30, 20 and 15-second TV spots marks the global launch of the all-new Insight – the most affordable hybrid on the market – which aims to make cleaner car technology accessible to a wider audience. The new Insight goes on sale at the start of April in most of Europe.
The advertisement opens on what appears to be the world’s largest LED screen displaying an animated sequence of simple dot matrix graphic stories that depict the notion of ‘good’. The animations show hugs and kisses, frowns turned into smiles, and general goodwill – all aiming to convey people’s inherent wish to be good. As the animation plays it is slowly revealed to the viewer that it is actually being created entirely by the headlights of hundreds of Honda Insight cars. The spectacle is set to a bespoke recorded version of ‘This Little Light of Mine’ created by Berend Dubbe.
‘Let it Shine’ has been created by Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam for use across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia. The European debut of ‘Let it Shine’ takes place on March 28 in Belgium.
The campaign extends Honda’s strategy of continuing to be at the forefront in environmental technologies and communications. This new approach underpins a communications plan which will run alongside the expansion of Honda’s hybrid range with a coupe based on the CR-Z concept and a Jazz hybrid set to join the new Insight and existing Civic Hybrid in the next two years.
Chris Brown, Head of Marketing for Honda Motor Europe comments: “We would like to become the most admired company in the world, and to do this we need to have the most admired brand and communications across our region, EMEAR. This is a continuation of our journey.”
This latest campaign is truly integrated; with print, outdoor and digital in addition to TV. The theme ‘Everyone Wants to Be Good’ is incorporated throughout, as well as the iconic ‘Honda Eco’ flower – a visual cue to the ‘Eco Assist’ system within the Insight which encourages and rewards efficient driving.
In the end, although the team discovered that the idea was logistically feasible, they were concerned about the carbon footprint that a shoot of that magnitude would leave. After doing the work to see what was possible W+K and Honda made a conscious decision to look at a more environmentally friendly alternative. The result was a fusion of modelling software for animation, a small number of Insight vehicles for scale and a few hundred Insight headlights. The vehicles and headlights were precisely spaced and wired together while a specially created computer program created the two separate halves of the animations. These animation halves were subsequently married together in post-production.
This approach allowed the team to greatly reduce the carbon footprint of the shoot. To further limit carbon output they relied on vehicles already located in South Africa, grouped shipments of props and lights as much as possible, and mandated group transportation of personnel to and from shoot. For further good measure, the shoot’s carbon output that could not be prevented was entirely offset through carbon credits purchased through the Carbon-Neutral Company’s Unity Portfolio.
‘Let it Shine’ was directed by Erik van Wyk and creative directed by Jeff Kling, John Norman and Sue Anderson.