Voice, Message, and Audience–Context is Crucial

Watch this ad from Honda about how to be a doer for the environment, and tell me what you think.

Here’s what I think:

I love the message of the ad, that not only gives us specific, easy things we can do to be more environmentally responsible drivers (only the beginning of what’s possible), but also positions Honda as a leader. But I think for a general audience the ad is a disaster, because it doesn’t give one important snippet of crucial context before slowly beginning the sloooow narrative.
I was halfway through before I realized the voiceover was Garrison Keillor (or a very close sound-alike). If people “get” that more quickly, then they will forgive taking 30 seconds or so to even start talking about the issue, because that’s his style. But I didn’t realize that at first, and if I hadn’t been told ahead of time what the ad was about, I would have been gone. So this could be a whole lot more effective if
1) There’s a splash page at the beginning that has a caption like “Garrison Keillor’s Eco-Driving Tips”
2) It aired in places where Keillor is a known quantity

BTW, if you want easy tips to be more eco-friendly in AND out of your car, I recommend my just-published e-book, Painless Green: 110 Tips to Help the Environment, Lower Your Carbon Footprint, Cut Your Budget, and Improve Your Quality of Life-With No Negative Impact on Your Lifestyle. It’s cheap, and the tips are very easy to implement. Yes, there’s a section on transportation.

Blog Directory Toplist

4 Responses to “Voice, Message, and Audience–Context is Crucial”

  1. David, I also wouldn’t have chosen Keillor for this. And I would not run this ad in places like NYC or LA, where people’s attention spans are short. I think it takes waaaay too long to get to the point, and it’s only because that fits in with Keillor’s famous style that they can get away with it.

    The point I was trying to make is that because the delivery is so slow and roundabout, identifying it as Keillor before people watch would make them more willing to sit through the long time where nothing happens.

  2. David, I also wouldn’t have chosen Keillor for this. And I would not run this ad in places like NYC or LA, where people’s attention spans are short. I think it takes waaaay too long to get to the point, and it’s only because that fits in with Keillor’s famous style that they can get away with it.

    The point I was trying to make is that because the delivery is so slow and roundabout, identifying it as Keillor before people watch would make them more willing to sit through the long time where nothing happens.

  3. I just blogged on Honda’s ad, in fact, and I have a different view on how a general audience would perceive this piece.

    I don’t think a general audience truly cares about the voice behind the narration and, as such, I don’t think the piece is compromised by not introducing the narrator or associating it with him. It’s just not a “crucial” element.

    To me, the overall piece should stand on its own. And I think it does that quite well with or without the average Joe understanding who the narrator is.

    If they get who’s narrating the piece and that helps the ad resonate with them, great. But if not, I don’t think the style is going to throw them off. And if I was Honda and the agency behind this piece and that was a consideration, I wouldn’t go with Keillor in the first place.

    Bottom line, I think this ad works and stands on its own very well for a general audience

    David Cameron’s last blog post… Honda’s Doer Film: Brand Champ or Chump?

  4. I just blogged on Honda’s ad, in fact, and I have a different view on how a general audience would perceive this piece.

    I don’t think a general audience truly cares about the voice behind the narration and, as such, I don’t think the piece is compromised by not introducing the narrator or associating it with him. It’s just not a “crucial” element.

    To me, the overall piece should stand on its own. And I think it does that quite well with or without the average Joe understanding who the narrator is.

    If they get who’s narrating the piece and that helps the ad resonate with them, great. But if not, I don’t think the style is going to throw them off. And if I was Honda and the agency behind this piece and that was a consideration, I wouldn’t go with Keillor in the first place.

    Bottom line, I think this ad works and stands on its own very well for a general audience

    David Cameron’s last blog post… Honda’s Doer Film: Brand Champ or Chump?