Honda Sings the Praises of Hydrogen for Clarity

By Author: Carolyn Briggs, Date: Feb 10, 2017
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There’s so much news about alternative fuel vehicles recently that it’s easy to ignore the bigger problem. Most people aren’t ready to make the sacrifices required to own them. It’s not that there aren’t alternative fuel options available; it’s that the infrastructure isn’t there to support them conveniently, and if history has proven anything it’s that we humans need a compelling reason to go out of their way to do the right thing.

Car companies are betting lots of time, money, man-power, and their reputations on alternative propulsion technologies, knowing that the future will not be gasoline powered. As more and more products are starting to hit the streets, delivering great range, mileage, and a satisfying driving experience, the real challenge is convincing drivers that alternative fuels are worth the effort. And it seems like Honda, at least, has decided to accept the challenge.

I’m not sure what I expected that to look like, but this isn’t it.

The spot, created to build awareness for their hydrogen fuel cell powered Honda Clarity, is themed “Blue Skies for our Children.” And while the Clarity is the product they can give you, the commercial is about selling a bright future. It features a children’s choir singing a choral version of the Fleetwood Mac song “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” with high and clear voices.

Sounds pretty standard, right? Except the children are actually just suspended heads floating on a blue background, with a single proton orbiting each face. Get it? Because the children are our future. And so is hydrogen.

After 45 seconds of giant floating heads showing us what they’ve got, Honda’s celebrity voice, Fred Savage, explains the Clarity is powered by hydrogen, with water as the only emission.

Yesterday’s gone, the heads remind us. The Clarity is available now. Open your eyes.

The message was clear and focused, good song choice, impactful narration, all there. But then those floating atom-heads. Until the voiceover began, I found myself much more creeped out than looking forward to a more conscious future. That said, I got the message, and I’ll remember the spot. If their goal is to get people talking about their hydrogen fuel cell commercial, this may just do it.

Along with the ad they’ve released five companion videos, available on their social media channels. The videos, described unironically by Honda as “edu-tainment”, examine how the fuel cell works, and introduce the viewer to life in a hydrogen powered world. It’ll be a tough sell. But in the end, if it leads us to a greener future it’s worth the effort, no matter how creepy it is.

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Carolyn Briggs

I grew up on the road. As a child, my family took regular trips from Wisconsin to both coasts. That's how I've seen most of this country — through the window of a car. Years later, I still feel that excitement when I toss my bags in the trunk and get behind the wheel. That's how seeing something new always begins. I've scaled mountains, dived with sharks, and stepped to the very edge of the Grand Canyon, all because I spent hours in a car. This site combines my passion for the road with my actual talent — communication and journalism. In college I rose to the position of managing editor for The Badger Herald, the largest independent student newspaper in the country at the time. I spent a year after graduating in social media marketing before moving off the grid to explore the wild beauty of West Virginia.

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