Alright, this has to be one of the most subtle advertising warfare ever! I do not know if anyone else has noticed it or not, but Honda’s latest commercial pokes fun at the SX4 positioning ridiculing the whole concept of what constitutes as accepted behavior of men. SX4 has positioned itself for a long time as a car that defines itself as very manly. ( a 4 wheeler version of pulser’s definitely male positioning) . In the latest campaign, SX4 showed cases of various men going through very important milestones in their life, like marriage anniversaries, birth of their child, first Karva chauth of their wife ( not sure if this one is that important for men), and all of them ditch these events in order to get the first ride on their latest SX4 which has just arrived. The female counterparts of these autocrazy men accept this, although a bit grudgingly. Now let us not consider the impossibly stretched notion behind this, and ignore the exaggeration. The message is very clear, men like automobiles almost at par with their human connections, sometimes more. But what Honda has done with its latest commercial, is that it has focused itself on the notion which is even stronger than manhood for guys, being exceptional. Every guy likes to think that there cannot be a better lover, father, brother, friend than him, that he is truly one in a million. Basically they are trying to send a message which is very old, be yourself. So where is the whole rivalry part?
Its all in the execution and the script. The Honda commercial starts with a monologue of the wife who is in reverence of how her husband was different, and now he forgets everything. Just when she is about to give up on him, the guy returns, surprising her in a pleasant sort of way. This makes a bold statement against the SX4 notion of the car being more important than family. In essence it has derived from the Raymond’s complete man idea. However what Honda is doing, is not just a crusade against the competitor’s campaign. It’s challenging the set notions of manhood. A reference would be Men will be Men campaign from imperial blue. With the exception of Raymonds, most commercial portray men as a rational creature, it has become a standard in itself, somehow an extension of Men are from Mars philosophy. It will be interesting to see what kind of reply Honda gets from both their competitors as well as audience. It’s likely to strike a chord in terms of aspiration of men to be exceptional.