Honda Impossible Dream Sung by Andy Williams

Honda ‘Impossible Dream’ was launched on December 2, 2005, a panoramic 2 minute television commercial featuring British actor Simon Day riding and driving on the roads and waterways of New Zealand. We start at the coast, with a gull on a fishing boat. A vintage record player starts playing a single, “The Power of Dreams”. A hand reaches out for a jacket and crash helmet. Gulls fly around the rocks as our rider comes out of his caravan. “To dream the impossible dream”, he sings. He starts up his monkey bike. “To fight the unbeatable foe.” As he comes around the corner Day is riding a Super Cub scooter, chased by sheep dogs. “To bear with unbearable sorrow”. He rides past sheep horses and windswept trees. “To run where the brave dare not go.” Now he’s riding a four-wheeler ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) along a beach. “To right the unrightable wrong”.

Simon Day on Honda in Impossible Dream TV Ad


Simon’s now in a S500 red sports car driving up the coast road. “To love pure and chaste from afar”. He rides through a small village on a Goldwing superbike. “To try when your arms are too weary”. Now he’s heading into the mountains on his Fireblade racing bike. “To reach the unreachable star”. He tears up a gravel road in an S2000 car. F1 vintage car. “This is my quest”. “To follow that star, no matter how hopeless”. Now the white NSX sports car cruises along beside a river channel. “No matter how far.” He climbs the hill on his TT Bike. “To fight for the right.”

Now our driver’s changing from a sixties car to a 1980s Formula 1 racing car which morphs into a vintage version. “Without question or pause, to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.” He zooms across a lake in a powerboat. “And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest…” He glides over the edge of a massive waterfall. A pause in the music. (See next paragraph for the mising lyrics). A hot air balloon ascends out of the spume of the waterfall. “To reach the unreachable star.”

Garrison Keillor’s voice: “I couldn’t have put it better myself.” HONDA – The Power of Dreams. thepowerofdreams.com

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)

The missing lyrics:
That my heart will be peaceful and calm
when I’m laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this,
that one man scorned and covered with scars
still strove with his last ounce of courage.

Honda Balloon rises over Iguassu Falls, Brazil

The web site features all the vehicles used in the 2 minute TV ad, providing swf video clips and background trivia. Viewers are invited to enter a competition for a ballooning holiday in New Zealand.

On the website we learn the significance of the flying wing on the Honda motorbike. Mr Soichiro Honda’s dream was to fly. He hoped one day to build a jet plane but died before seeing that dream come to fruition. The first Honda motorbike was nicknamed ‘The Dream’. In 2004 Honda announced its plans to produce a small jet. Click on the hot air balloon (on the Honda web site) for more information.

Credits

The brand campaign was developed by advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy London, by creative directors/creatives Kim Papworth, Chris Groom, Tony Davidson, Sean Thompson, and agency producer Julia Methold.

Filming was shot by director Ivan Zacharias via Stink, London, with producer Nick Landon and director of photography Jan Velicky.

Editor was Filip Malasek, from Czech film editing company Robota.

Post production was done at The Mill, London under the oversight of producer Helen Hughes and Seamus O’Kane. Other staff included Lead Flame Barnsley, Flame Adam Grint, Flame Assistants Neil Davies, Richard Betts, Support Gareth Brennan, Paul Wilmot, with CG by Chris Rabet, Eva Maria Kuehlmann, Rob Petrie, Sam Kim and Kay Pfingston. Take a look at the detail provided by the Mill team – seagulls by the dozen, buntings on the road in the racing shots, and the transfer of Day’s singing face into the jet boat and racing cars.

Sound was produced at Wave Studios by Johnnie Burn, sound engineer Jack Sedgwick, and bite engineer Ashley Smith. Music was edited by Music Mill, Sydney.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)

Impossible Dream Music

The music for the TV ad is Andy Williams singing “Impossible Dream (The Quest)”, found in his album, “16 Most Requested Songs”. The song was written by Joe Darian for the Don Quixote musical, “Man of La Mancha”. Darion won the 1965/66 Tony award for best lyrics of the Broadway season.

Purchase the Andy Williams album at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com, or download the track at iTunes.

The Impossible Dream – 16 Most Requested Songs: Andy Williams on iTunes

Andy Williams

Impossible Dream star is Simon Day, British actor, singer and playwright. Not the Simon Day who stars in British comedy, Grass – apologies for the mix up Simon and Simon. Simon Day wasn’t in the powerboat or Formula One cars. He was filmed lip syncing in a remote field in New Zealand and added later to those shots at The Mill.

See my June 21 2006 post on the English Patriotism version, developed at the Mill in time for the England/Sweden match in the FIFA World Cup.

See also the 2010 Extended Version in which a Honda jet replaces the hot air balloon, leading to 30 seconds extra footage.

  • Anonymous

    Top bit of information – I was only after the singer of the song on the advert (thought it might have been Matt Monro), but the rest of the information was really interesting. Thanks. (And it is a very good advert as well !!)

  • bod

    was looking for info on the song for my in laws ,father in law thought it was matt monro so checked out your site and found all info required and plenty more cheers.
    bod

  • dodgymick

    HOLD the remote….an advert worthy of seeing …brilliant

  • Noor-jahan

    Greetings Duncan
    Stumbled upon your blog accidently.
    Think the information you offer is great!
    Much appreciated…God bless you.

  • Anonymous

    Ha ha ha, well you have another happy customer here…thought it was Andy Williams as my Mum loves his songs (so do I actually) but hadn’t heard him doing this one! Great advert too.
    Many thanks for the info
    Regards
    Charlie

  • Antnee

    I can’t believe that is Simon Day! No wonder I didn’t recognise the guyin the advert. What an excellent piece of advertising though; this will surely go down in history as one of the greats!

  • Wayne-England

    As advertisments go, this is pure genius!

  • Ryan

    I’ve got great news, e-mail Honda under the media category, and ask for a copy of the Ad. I got a copy, it has all the previous ad’s also, like the Cog, and the Civic ones.

  • Friend of Simon

    Not that Simon Day!
    EQUITY is to blame here.
    This Simon Day is both actor, singer and playwright – well respected within the profession. National Theatre player – Regents Park last year – Donmar Warehouse etc
    The other ‘Simon Day’ is none of these

  • Anonymous

    The Simon Day in this ad is fast becoming a great British sex symbol. Particularly with little old ladies like myself. The other Simon Day of the Fast Show is just not as cute. Can’t you see our Honda Simon as the new Bond?

  • Anonymous

    No, he’s a bit too sleazy for Bond. I mean, I’m all for facial hair, but the Graham Gooch moustache is not going to get the Moneypennys of this world, is it? I wonder what he looks like after a shave? I see him more as a Jason King type – not surprisingly. Perhaps it’s time for a new series with Honda ad Simon as the moustachioed man with the flares and the colt 45?

  • Stevz

    Best Advert… Ever!

  • Benni

    The song is great, however the best version I ever heard was by English band Carter USM. Brilliant.

    over and out

  • http://www.dakaclancs.co.uk Dave

    Could someone host this ad in 3gp format on Ihud or Filefront

  • Ted

    Amazing ad. I love the setting. Which falls are they?

  • http://chrisbrynjonesaol.com Chris

    Most Amazing Inspirational ad ever in the Hisitory of Television!!!!!

  • Simon

    Probably the most amazing ad in the universe.

    I first heard it on stink.tv and when Simon Day sang/mimed “And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest” (powerboat scene at the end) there was some sort of technical problem and a slight loss of sync in the sound track and I thought Oh my god that’s brilliant… perfect (loss of sync).

    But alas it was just a technical hitch.

  • Devon

    That’s got to be Iguacu Falls in Brazil.

  • M.E.B.

    Like so many others before me I wanted to find out who the singer was.
    Great information, great website. Thankyou.
    PS Was lucky enough to be in the Honda ad filmed in Newcastle.(Man running after Honda in wet suit).

  • Jonny Boy

    The Advert is pure quality,i just love the way its all put together.
    And the music even though i aint that old is mint.
    Im so happy Hoda are showing this classic tv ad again.
    Lets hope they never replace it.

  • Rookie

    Does anyone know what the significance is of the No.7 on his overalls, and the blue white and red stripes?

  • http://www.cryoserver.com Michael Decker

    I got one of the DVD’s too. My four year old became obsessed by the ad so I wrote to Honda and they sent me a copy. The DVD has another ten or so Honda ads on it including ‘Cog’, which has now replaced ‘Power of Dreams’ as the target of his obsession.

    Most of the ad was filmed in New Zealand. And I guess the number 7 was their race number the first time Honda won the Isle of Man TT in ’61? There was certainly a style throughout the sixties of that vertical stripe design down one side of one’s leathers (think Peter Fonda Easy Rider). I’d assumed he grew the sideburns and droopy ‘tache for the ad, or they were add-ons for that sixties look, but apparently he just happened to turn up for the audition like that!

    This is a truly great advert. It ranks right up there with my other favourite; ‘Smile’ from National Lottery which is the happiest thing you’ll ever see, without the schmaltz. Or maybe it’s just weird. Check it out at: http://www.studioaka.co.uk/html/projects.php?p=nationallottery

    Michael Decker

  • Matthew

    This is a great advert and a truly maginificient song but can anyone tell me the name of the waterfall ????? Would love to go visit the waterfall…..Please help as this is driving me mad ! :(

  • Dara

    It’s the Iguassu Falls on the border between Brazil and Argentina… I’ve been there and it’s incredible!
    http://www.answers.com/topic/iguassu-falls

  • hugi

    Very Very nice information here… Thanks

  • Matthew

    Thank you for the answer to my question Dara :)

  • http://northernidiot.blogspot.com Andrew (barnsley) Wood

    There’s a write up of Impossible Dream on our company website. see. http://www.the-mill.com/article.php?A=405. Hope that this is of interest.

    Also locations are
    New Zealand, South Island near Ivercargill, Mount Cook, and Milford Sound.
    Iguassu Falls. Brazil
    Honda Test track, Japan.
    Off the coast of Barcelona.

    Best wishes

  • Andy Whilding

    Inspired choice of song and locations. If you can dream it then you can do it! Iguassu Falls has got to be one of the most beautiful settings in the world… such beauty must be visited and savoured!

  • Karen

    wow – fantastic information and what I’ve been searching for and more!!

    thanks for this…. ;o)

  • Rob

    It is Iguaçu Falls, but it has been heavily CGI’d… Iguaçu is in fairly flat forested terrain, but they’ve matted in snowcapped mountains, presumably from New Zealand if they’re not completely artificial.

  • Emma

    I’m from NZ but living in London and have been thinking that the location looked a lot like home – so thanks for confirming this for me.

    Rob – the mountains are definitely real!!

  • Mark

    There was a special version of the advert before the England match tonight, with lots of England flags positioned on the vehicles and a big red cross instead of the Honda logo on the balloon at the end. Extremely well done, and a fantastic advert anyway.

    ;-)

  • Thomas

    3 words “what an advert”

  • anon

    After watching endless mindless annoying adverts, wich just push the “hook” over and over, this advert is a real joy, can see it often never get sick of it,,great !!! Must really work well for Honda,,,after all some adverts actually make me hate the product they are trying to sell, not buy them !!!

  • Andy

    What a truely fantastic advert, and song to go with it. pure genius.
    just a few points. it is a 60’s f1 car that then changes into the modern f1 car ;) also the track is motegi, which isn’t hondas track, but is in japan :). i too saw the england version, with the words at the bottom!, and they guy at the end says “come on england!”
    the best ad in the world!

  • Ray

    One of the best adds for a long time and the song is superbly well done, I Love It. Nice One for England, Saw that one two

  • Mark

    The England version is currently playing on the front page at http://www.honda.co.uk

  • simo

    What a truely fantastic advert, and song to go with it. is a very very powerful and meaning song i loved it and now i put it in to my ipod and im lestining to it very day i cant get enought and thx honda

  • Andy

    I was fortunate enough to be in a production of “Man of La Mancha” a few years ago – the scene where Don Qixote sings this song as he nears death is one of the most moving pieces I’ve ever performed in.
    Thank you Honda for keeping the mood of the original piece and putting together this truly inspirational advert.
    The new version with the England flags had me singing at the top of my voice!

  • Landman

    anyone know where I can download this brilliant ad please?
    I hate adverts but this blew me away!

  • Lee

    Where can I get the Song and Video to buy? before I nick my Nans Andy Williams album…Blinding Advert Best ive seen, great Song…Well done Honda

  • Venci

    Hello.I heard you are opening an office in Bulgaria.Can you please send me some more information,
    Thank you.

  • Gertrude

    This advert is great! Thank’s for the infomation on the website it clared things up!

  • England Dave

    The best advert ever.

  • RepoMan

    This is one the greatest adverts I have ever seen, and is right up there with the Guinness creations.

    Unfortunately, I discounted Andy Williams as the singer because on this track, his caterwauling is less pronounced, than say on Solitaire. It drew me to Matt Monro, who seems to be a crooner that people naturally confuse with others. Sadly I bought Matt Monro’s greatest hits CD, and found a good version of the song, but his version was straight-jacketed with a backing track, similar to Frankie Laine’s “I Believe”.

    The Andy Williams version is more laid back, and perfect accompaniment to this advert. The director’s could not have used the Monro version, because the first few military-style bars were at odds with a man coming out of a old caravan in overalls. It doesn’t have the Williams natural crescendo.

  • Gordon

    For info of Rookie above, the 7 on the riders clothing in the Honda ad is the logo of the NZ Line 7 outdoor clothing company. I bought a rain suit very similar to the one in the ad when I purchased my first motorcycle ( a Honda!) in NZ in the early seventies.

    Cheers

    gordon

  • lloyd/chris

    What an amazing ad, i was making a sandwhich during the ads of F1 and when i heard the song hop up i ran in sat down and watched, its amazing.

  • Craig

    Unbelieveable ad! The song has been in my head for ages, n when i got to work im running around a bar sing, ” TO REACH THE UNREACHABLE STARS!” Love the way it goes trhough all the various modes of transport that honda have to offer. Starting from a silly wee bike, to a hot air ballon! love it when the F1 car comes into it. One of my favourite ads of all time n this website proved to give me a lot of details, including the correct lyrics so i can sing along to the proper words in work! Thanks again

  • ben

    Fantastic, best advert ever!!!

  • Tom

    Great advert/montage.
    Take a close look at the vintage F1 car and you will see that it was only being driven for some of the shots. One shot of the cockpit definitely shows all the gauges at 0 and ambient for the temp gauge. the rev counter needle may be CGI also.
    Shame they subsequently spoiled it by linking it to football and pasting in a load of England flags.