Honda's 'Happy Braking'
What does a fluffy road cone, rainbow-coloured speed camera and traffic lights decorated with beads have to do with motoring?

Ah, that’ll be the new Honda car advertisement….

Drivers are constantly having to hit the "middle pedal" in today’s traffic conditions – having to repeatedly brake is a constant frustration. Traffic lights, speed cameras and road cones are just some of the ‘obstacles’ that cause us to slow down – and they all feature in an innovative Honda advertising campaign which breaks this week.

The advertisements promote the benefits of Honda IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) technology used in the new Civic 4 door. They continue on from the TV campaign, which centred on the IMA system’s ability to save energy – by demonstrating how we could all benefit if powered objects could switch themselves off when they weren’t being used.

Most people think that braking is one of the downsides of driving a car. But Honda’s Happy Braking campaign challenges that kind of negative thinking, celebrating the positive impact that IMA technology has on braking.

IMA transforms braking into a wonderfully positive activity – it recaptures energy that would normally be wasted (as heat energy in the brakes), stores it and gives it back when you want to accelerate. Your car consumes a lot less fuel, which means you save on fuel bills and you’re doing your bit for the environment without having to do anything more than slow down, making you happier in every respect.

The Happy Braking campaign celebrates the experience of slowing down, so road cones become fluffy and colourful, traffic lights are decorated with coloured glass beads, a Belisha beacon is topped off with an orange floral lamp and a speed camera is painted like a rainbow. The idea was to communicate the benefit of IMA in a non-technical manner, which people would instantly connect with.

"Happy Braking is a really simple idea which cleverly turns the normally negative experience of braking or slowing down into a positive: if you save energy when you brake wouldn’t you want to do it more!" explains Honda’s Customer Communications Supervisor Manager Matthew Coombe.

"We have planned both a nation wide poster campaign as well as press advertising. Where possible we have placed the ads in environments where people are naturally slowing down and applying the brakes – the ads will run on 6-sheets at selected motorway service stations and on the backs of National Express and high street buses. Connecting with people’s movements and their mood in such a tactile way demonstrates how media can amplify the creative idea and make it work much harder," adds Coombe.

Published : 19/08/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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