Find your voice and get your story straight
Honda 1 : Nike 0

Honda 1 : Nike 0

Twitter went nuts over the last few days about the full-length-feature-version Nike World Cup ad.

This one.

But I just don’t get it.

It’s the same old Nike formula.

Yes it’s an epic.

But it’s not “epic”.

Yes I smiled at the Homer Simpson / Ronaldo vignette.

Yes (big fucking surprise) someone managed to get a decent acting performance out of Wayne Rooney.

But it leaves me cold.

It’s the Chelsea or Real Madrid of TV advertising. Huge budgets that no-one else can match, used to buy the brand’s way to success.

It is clearly designed to impress but it doesn’t.

The YouTube generation has, I think, been educated to separate the idea from the execution. Huge stars and lavish production values can’t disguise conceptual bankruptcy.

An old Viz cartoon (I can’t remember which) featured a spoof magazine called “Body Builders Have Small Dicks”.

This ad is like the imagined content of that magazine. Lots of bulging bicep but sadly lacking in the trouser department.

Compare and contrast with the Honda Impossible Dream ad.

This one.

As the YouTube blurb says, it’s “bigger, longer, awesomer and impossibler” than the original version that first ran three years ago.

This ad is an epic.

And it’s “epic”.

It moves me in ways that the Nike ad doesn’t begin to.

A sentiment echoed in the comments it has been receiving.

“I don’t know when the last time was I got goose-bumps watching an ad.”

“Epic commercial video. Nice music. I’ve cried a bit.”


A quick look at the comments on the Nike ad is revealing. There’s much more cynicism at play.

The motives of the players are questioned.

People seem to want to find fault with it.

Even three years on the Honda ad feels fresh and original, and not just for the automotive sector where it stands head and shoulders above everything else.

Whereas, on the basis of this World Cup ad, Nike hasn’t moved on in well over a decade.

It’s interesting that both ads are the output of the same agency group.

Nike by Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam.

Honda by Wieden & Kennedy London.

Honda 1, Nike 0

England 1, Holland 0

An omen?


  1. Hi there! I just found your blog using the WordPress Tag Surfer and completely agree with your take on the Nike and Honda ads (only I didn’t realise I did until you drew my attention to it). Honda seem to have the ‘power of dreams’ slogan working a treat for them (I recently wrote a blog on their Lake Garda Bouncy Castle stunt). I look forward to reading more of your posts soon.


  2. Thanks Shelley.

    I hadn’t seen the Bouncy Castle stunt so thanks for pointing it out.

    I also read your post about good writing technique and the careful choice of words.

    I think that “stunt” is a great example.

    Impressive and exciting when used in the context of film making.

    But distinctly pejorative when used in the context of PR.

    Describing the bouncy castle on Lake Garda as a stunt, immediately leads the reader in the direction of “lame”.

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