Honda Ridgeline A Truck to love

Honda is running a 60-second Super Bowl commercial for the 2017 Ridgeline truck, featuring a herd of sheep singing the Queen classic “Somebody to Love.” The commercial, “A New Truck to Love,” opens on a Ridgeline owner dropping sheep off to graze in a meadow. As soon he drives away with his herding dog in tow, the flock begins to sing the 1976 classic. They pause their harmonizing when their unsuspecting owner returns to unload a few more sheep and resume once he’s safely out of earshot again. The ad ends with a shot of the truck parked in front of a barn and a voiceover that introduces the Ridgeline, with its unique audio system, as “a new truck to love.” When the camera pans over, it’s revealed that the narrator is the dog seen earlier in the spot, seated on a bale of hay, and talking to the camera. Viewers are encouraged to check out the truck at future-cars.honda.com/new-ridgeline

Honda Ridgeline Truck with singing sheep

The Super Bowl commercial will be supported with a digital campaign that begins with the release of the spot on Honda’s YouTube channel and will include home page takeovers of ESPN and MSN on Super Bowl Sunday and the day after. Short videos featuring the dog in the spot will appear on social channels before and after the game.

Honda Ridgeline Truck with talking dog

“We wanted to make a statement that Ridgeline is back, but also show off a key feature that points to Honda innovation,” said Tom Peyton, assistant vice president of advertising and marketing at American Honda Motor Co. “After kicking around some concepts, singing sheep and talking dogs seemed right up the Super Bowl’s alley.”

Honda hopes the music-driven spot will renew interest in the truck after the carmaker stopped its production with the 2014 model. The Ridgeline was introduced in 2005 and achieved some success, said Peyton, but its “unique” boxy styling proved to be a challenge for the market. “We wanted to be different; some people liked it, some people didn’t,” he said, adding that the truck’s availability in only four wheel drive also made it a more expensive option for some consumers.

While the team decided early on to have the sheep sing the Queen song, the choice was cemented after seeing the track’s popularity on iTunes surge after one of the contestants on “The Voice” performed the song. “It just reaffirmed that it is still a popular song across all ages,” said Peyton. “It works, and the line of ‘somebody to love’ or ‘truck to love’ works pretty good, too.”

The redesigned pickup, revealed at the North American International Detroit Auto show last month, is offered in both two-wheel and four-wheel drive and carries more traditional styling, “but it’s still loaded with innovations that make us stand out,” he added, pointing to the truck-bed audio system highlighted in the Super Bowl spot, as well as the in-bed trunk and dual-action tailgate.

The light truck segment is important for Honda, as car manufacturers strive to take advantage of the increased consumer demand for SUVs and trucks, which has been propelled by low gas prices. Sales for Honda’s light trucks, which include crossovers, SUVs and minivans, have been arguably strong, Peyton said. “The mid-size truck segment is growing and is a great place for us to be well positioned in.”

According to Peyton, the new Ridgeline is aimed at the 40- to 50-year-old suburban driver who wants the comforts of an SUV and likes to camp or tailgate, or needs the small-haul capability provided by the pickup — someone like an architect who has a ranch as a second home.

“At the end of the day, there is a mystique and a psychographic that goes along with buying a truck instead of buying an SUV,” he said. “When you have a pickup truck in the US, there’s a little bit of the adventurous cowboy mentality that a lot of people enjoy.”

Credits

The Honda Ridgeline A Truck to love campaign was developed at RPA by chief creative officer Joe Baratelli, executive creative director Jason Sperling, creative director/art director Brent Singer, senior art directors Matthew Pullen and Amy Servidea, senior copywriters Chris Bradford and Audrey Attal, chief production officer Gary Paticoff, executive producer Isadora Chesler, senior producer Eva Ellis, director of business affairs Maria Del Homme, management account director Brett Bender, group account director Adam Blankenship, management supervisor Cathy O’Gorman, account supervisor Jacob Gentry, account executives Chris Varela and Christina Contreras, group strategic planning director Christian Cocker, associate director strategic planning Nargis Pirani, senior strategic planner Elissa Murch and program manager Melissa Heitman.

Filming was shot by director Bryan Buckley via Hungry Man with executive producer Mino Jarjoura, director of photography Scott Henriksen, producer Emily Skinner, production designer David Skinner, and costume designer Michelle Martini.

Editor was Jim Haygood at Union Editorial with managing partner Michael Raymond, executive producers Lisa Johnson and Joe Ross, and assistant editor Drew Johnson.

Visual effects and design were produced at The Mill by executive producer Leighton Greer, senior producer Chris Harlowe, production coordinators Mary Hayden and Samantha Hernandez, shoot supervisors Robert Sethi, Felix Urquiza and Glyn Tebbutt, executive creative director Phil Crowe, creative director Robert Sethi, 2D lead artist Glyn Tebbutt, 3D lead artist Felix Urquiza, animation lead artist Blake Guest, animation supervisor Jacob Bergman, 2D artists Ben Smith, Ashley Forbito, Jake Albers, Jale Parsons, Peter Sidoriak, Sam Evenson, Tommy Smith, 3D artists Matthew Fuller, Justin Murphy, Philippe Moine, Matthew Kavanagh, Dave Vander Pol, Richard Bailey, Alice Panek Temp, Tracie Cotta, Jason Jansky, Tamara Garabedian, Jenna Kind, Ziye Liu, Katie Yoon, Anthony Thomas, Majid Esmaeili, Sean Comer, Steven Olson, Martin Rivera, matte painters Andy Wheater and Gillian George.

Colour was produced at The Mill by colorist Adam Scott, executive producer Thatcher Peterson, producer Diane Valera
, and production coordinator Jackson Rodgers.

Music: “Somebody to Love”
, was written by Freddie Mercury
, (c) 1976 Queen Music LTD.
 All Rights controlled by EMI Music Publishing, administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Performed by Queen. 
Courtesy of Hollywood Records.

Sound design and re-recording were produced at Beacon Street Studios by executive producer Adrea Lavezzoli.

Sound was mixed at Lime Studios
 by re-recording mixer Dave Wagg and executive producer Susie Boyajan.