The Leap List

For my final message evaluation, I chose a commercial advertising the Honda CR-V.  The commercial starts with a young, 20-something women in a Georgia t-shirt taking a picture of herself in front of her car, then shows pictures of her (and sometimes a friend) wearing t-shirts or standing in front of signs for all 50 states.  In each picture, she/they seem to be having fun and/or experiencing what each state has to offer.  The car is visible in some photos, but not all of them.  The commercial ends with her and the friend running into the car while “visit all 50 states” appears at the top of the screen with a box next to it.  A checkmark appears in the box while the narrator says, “The leap list: get going on yours in the CR-V from Honda” and the fine print about the car appears at the bottom of the screen, along with the logos for the CR-V and Honda.

This ad is definitely geared towards a younger demographic, and probably a more female demographic as well.  I first saw this ad on the Lifetime channel, which is geared towards women, so that assumption seems to fit (and the only two people seen in the ad are young women).  The fun locations and t-shirts and the act of taking pictures is what makes me think the intended demographic is a bit younger (in the 20s-30s range) since Instagram is such a popular app these days (and often used to take pictures of oneself in cute outfits in cool places).

As talked about by Malefyt, this ad is all about experiencing the product; Malefyt says, “progressive companies… avoid more ‘rational’ marketing approaches which treat brands as commodities, and instead ‘stage’ their services as events and offer their goods as ‘props’ (pg. 90).  This ad is a perfect example of this; it tells the consumer to go have an adventure, whether it’s visiting all 50 states or something else on the “leap list,” and that he or she can use the CR-V to do it.  This is a great way to advertise in today’s market; people want to have an emotional connection to a product, not just a rational one.  Consumers are more interested in how a product makes them feel or how they will experience it than how it works.  If the ad had focused on talking about what features of the car make it suitable for traversing the country instead of just showing the girls having a good time on their journey, it would have been less effective because of this.

The ad is also a great example of a pseudo non-ad.  These are ads that don’t look like ads; that is, they appear to be candid or real-life moments which just happen to be caught on film and happen to help advertise a product or a service (Simons & Jones, pg. 424).  The pictures in the commercial all seem as if they are taken by the girls (even though they are very well composed…) and they are presented kind of haphazardly, as if they are being thrown on a table as they look back over their trip.  When I first saw the commercial, I didn’t even know what was being advertised—I only knew it was a commercial because it was playing in the middle of a commercial break.  This anti-ad helps make the consumer more invested in what’s going on; he or she sees the pictures from the girls’ trip, with the girls having fun and smiling, and wants to know more about their experience and how to experience something similar.  Then, when the ad is revealed, the consumer has a more emotional tie to wanting to buy the car, because it makes it seem as if buying the CR-V will automatically make a super fun road trip across the country happen for him or her too.

I think this ad is very well-done and effective.  If I was looking for a car, I would probably want to check this one out; I don’t know anything about cars, so seeing a commercial telling me about the features of a car is way less effective than one that makes me feel like I will have a great time if I buy the car, like this ad does.  In general, as Malefyt and Simons & Jones pointed out, today’s consumer wants to feel like he or she is not being advertised to and to feel like the product will give him or her an experience or make him or her feel a certain way.  This ad does a great job of doing both, by making the consumer think that it isn’t an ad at all, simply a collection of pictures from a great road trip, and by correlating the car to said great road trip (which may be a fallacy, but it’s a fallacy that works).

Adrienne Bogard

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