|Directed by||Antoine Bardou-Jacquet|
|Produced by||Fi Kilroe|
|Release date(s)||2003 (Television)|
|Running time||120 seconds|
The two-minute advert appears as a single, long camera dolly along a Heath Robinson-esque chain reaction arrangement of parts from the car. It is in fact two one-minute chain-reaction sequences, carefully set up on opposing walls of the studio and stitched together, the join being at the moment where the muffler/exhaust box rolls across the floor (this can be seen by watching the floor pattern change). The advert took approximately 20 takes on each of five days of shooting to film, and only minimal CGI was used, for lighting highlights and slowing down the motion at one point. The cars featured, one disassembled for the pieces and the other on the trailer, were two of the six hand-built pre-mass production Accords.
The sequence starts with a transmission bearing rolling into a synchro hub. This sets off a cascade of movement; windscreen wipers 'walk' across the floor, valves roll down a bonnet and carefully weighted tires roll uphill. The advert ends when the power door locks on a complete Accord are triggered, causing the hatchback to close, tipping the car off a balanced trailer and into a final pose in front of the camera. The voice of US author Garrison Keillor queries "Isn't it nice... when things just... work?", while the song "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang plays in the background.
According to Snopes, "in May 2003, filmmakers Peter Fischli and David Weiss threatened legal action against Honda over similarities between the Cog advert and The Way Things Go, a 30-minute film they produced in 1987 involving '100 feet of physical interactions, chemical reactions, and precisely crafted chaos worthy of Rube Goldberg or Alfred Hitchcock.'"
Parodies & tributes
A parody of this advert was recently created by the BBC to promote its coverage of football on BBC Local Radio, by using selected football memorabilia which was donated for free from
several English football teams including: the white line painting machine from Manchester City FC and the 'dug-out' from West Bromwich Albion F.C.
The Turnstile featured in the Ad is an original from the first Wembley Stadium and dates back to the late 1800's. The spoof BBC ad was produced for BBC English Regions.
Another noteworthy point is that the robot football boots which score the final goal at the end of the ad were designed and built by the iconic British engineer and inventor Tim Hunkin.
This spoof version was filmed on a 90 foot custom built set designed to copy the original Honda Ad.
All the items of football memorabilia were donated to the National Football Museum after filming.
The BBC team wrote to Weiden and Kennedy to seek permission to make this spoof and they were happy for the extra publicity it brought to their campaign.
BBC Spoof credits
- Director: Reg Sanders - Hungry Wolf Films
- Producer: Tracy Williams - Tracy Island TV
- Director of Photography: Steve Weiser
- Designer: Andy Carrol
The advert has been widely acclaimed by Australian Media as an effective marketing tool for the Honda brand - spearheaded by Honda's media agency, ZenithOptimedia Melbourne.
A video of similar concept using various pieces of sports equipment was made by New Zealander, Evan Yates as the winning entry to a competition hosted by local television programme, Sportscafe. Sponsored by Vodafone, the Best Sporting Trick competition prize was a trip to the UK to meet English footballer, David Beckham.
A similar ad for the breakfast cereal Frosties featured a Rube Goldberg machine involving a bowl having cereal and milk poured into from chain reactions set off by other household objects.
- Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
- Production Company: Partizan Midi Minuit
- Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
- Agency Producer: Rob Steiner
- Agency Creatives: Matt Gooden & Ben Walker
- Post Production: The Mill, London
- Producer: Fi Kilroe
- Flame Operator: Barnsley
- Flame Assistant: Dave Birkill
- Planner: Russell Davies
- Boyer, Trevor (2003-08-01). "Practical Motion". digitalcontentproducer.com. http://digitalcontentproducer.com/mag/video_practical_motion/. Retrieved on 2008-11-16.
- "Cog". Snopes. 2006-10-10. http://www.snopes.com/autos/business/hondacog.asp. Retrieved on 2008-11-16.
- Jha, Alok (2003-05-01). "Did they really make that Honda advert in one take?". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/thisweek/story/0,12977,946531,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-11-16.
- Fischli, Peter; David Weiss. "The Way Things Go". Icarus Films. http://icarusfilms.com/cat97/t-z/the_way_.html. Retrieved on 2008-11-16.
- A link to the video, how the video was made, and an illustrated guide to what's going on in the video
- Cog video download (11.6MB)
- The Cog video downloads (accessed 31 December 2005): 4MB mov via BitTorrent available at imediaconnection.com.
- The Number parody
- Practical Motion (Interview with agency producer Steiner, editor Barnsley)
- Lights! Camera! Retake!
- Top Ten Car Adverts with video
- Snopes.com: Honda Accord commercial "Cog"