Yet More About That Honda Cog Ad’

Go to the ad'
at Beam TVDiane Colcord from Tillamook, Oregon, dropped me an email to say thanks for the link to watch the ad on the Honda site. She also sent me this article from ‘The Oregonian’, as Honda’s Advertising Agency, Wieden+Kennedy, is based in Portland Oregon. One of the things it tells us is how lucky we are in the UK to see this. I was certain it would “Go Global” but it seems, maybe not. The following is condensed from an article by JEFF MANNING:

Devotees of Mousetrap know that the primary attraction of the children’s board game was watching to see whether the contraption of gears, chutes and ramps would actually work and send the plastic trap descending over your toy mouse.

Imagine a supercharged Mousetrap designed by a team of engineers, sculptors and art directors on a $1 million budget, and you get the idea behind Wieden+Kennedy’s new ad for Honda. The spot, dubbed “Cog,” was introduced to raves earlier this month in the United Kingdom. “Cog” features 85 car parts linked in a beautifully synchronized dance that ends in the introduction of Honda’s new Accord. No car careening along a mountain highway. No classic rock. No truck plowing through a bog in ultra-slow motion. Just a bunch of ball bearings, valve stems, flywheels and mufflers quietly smacking into one another in a chain reaction that would make Rube Goldberg smile.

Dan Wieden is also smiling . . . The “Cog” spot grew out of Wieden’s efforts to portray Honda’s engineering prowess. Although Honda is among the leading brands in the industry in the United States, it has fought an image problem in England, where its products are viewed as inferior to the elite European brands.

“We used the term ‘warm engineering’ to describe the feeling that we wanted to get across with the new Accord,” said Kim Papworth, creative director of Wieden’s London office. “It’s a term to describe the very precise and intricate way of Honda engineering but in the typically human, plain-speaking way that is Honda’s tone of voice.” It took five months of production and design work before “Cog” was ready to shoot. Then the real work began. In the course of a week in a Paris studio, crews agonized through 605 takes. Every time, something went wrong — a rolling gear missed its mark, the oil can poured too much or too little oil, the disembodied windshield wipers did not come to life with a squirt of liquid as planned. Finally, on the 606th take, the amazing assembly worked.

Wieden+Kennedy staffers swear that no trick photography was used and that the final successful run-through was filmed in real time. The only voice in the ad is from Garrison Keillor, who intones at the end, “Isn’t it nice when things just … work?”


Honda was so taken with the finished product it paid for a two-minute debut showing of the ad during the Brazilian Grand Prix. The British press love the ad. ” ‘Cog’ looks certain to become an advertising legend,” wrote a reporter for the Telegraph of London. For now anyway, the only way for U.S. audiences to see the ad is on the Internet. Honda has a different ad agency in the United States, and the chance of the company showing “Cog” remains uncertain.

Jeff Manning can be contacted on: 503-294-7606 or I hope the Orgeonian will forgive my copying some of Jeff’s article here, and thanks for sending it, Diane.


‘Comic Ali’ – At His Aunt’s House?

Visit the Site29 April – ABC News Australia reports that Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (M.S.S.) has been at his aunt’s house in Baghdad for the past four days, and has asked US troops to arrest him so he can be “protected”. Adel Murad, of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, says US troops have refused because he is not on their “most wanted” deck of playing cards. Al-Arabiya satellite channel has allegedly offered M.S.S. a new job as a commentator and analyst. “We want to benefit from the experience of Mr Sahaf and his analysis of the current situation and the future of Iraq,” said the station, without giving details of the job package. This is copied from www.We Love The Iraqi Information this morning. Incidentally, there’s a rumour that the Irish airline Ryanair is to release a new ad starring M.S.S., angering rival airline Easyjet. Allegedly, an Easyjet spokeman called the ad “insensitive”!

New: See this BBC News Item!

Disk Overusage!

I had an email from my Web Host saying I had exceeded my allotted 50mb disk space for this site. There’s just so many good things for you people on here now! Reluctantly, I removed the Aibo video ** – it was about 8mb – so if you want it, drop me an email and I’ll put in on another server somewhere for the time being. The reason the disk space just tipped ‘over the top’ was the size of the log file! This many visitors brings with it, it’s own problems I have discovered.

I have also removed the Blog Hot or Not rating from the site because it’s been very slow to load recently (if at all) and it was holding up the whole site, which should be really quick now. I tried the main website and it was giving 404 errors, so maybe that particular service has stopped. “Hot or Not” seems to be going strong though. Whilst at it, I also very reluctantly removed the comments facility from beneath each Blog entry. It was a recent addition, but because of my “Antidote to Pictures of People Fighting” picture series to do with the Iraq war, (see the last Archive page) I had a couple of four-letter comments in there. I am not prepared to have them there for even a short time (until I am notified of a new entry and delete it) so sorry, but a couple of stupid people sounding off about George Bush have removed that facility from all you good people who wouldn’t do such things. If you do have comments, please do email me and I’ll cheerfully post them in the main Blog for all to see!

(Added December 2003) I notice people are still coming here in large numbers looking for the Aibo Video, so I’ve uploaded it to another site I own. The link above now works again. Enjoy it!

“TiVo Changed my Life”

Not, not my life, but more people daily are saying this. Not since the PalmPilot debuted in 1996 has a new electronic contraption sparked a cultlike following and so many zealous proselytizers. Type the phrase “TiVo changed my life” into Google, and you will summon an afternoon’s worth of reading (including the observation that there are “as many TiVo-praise Web sites out there as there are hairs on Robin Williams”). I’ve mentioned TiVo several times before in the Blog as being something I want! Michael Powell, the chairman of the USA Federal Communications Commission, once called TiVo “God’s machine.” TiVo has around 700,000 subscribers — a tiny fraction of American television viewers, 70 percent of whom have never even heard of TiVo, according to Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. But, Mr. Bernoff said, TiVo’s fans are a vocal minority. “A cult implies a small group of enthusiasts and a large number of people who don’t know what it is,” he said. “That’s exactly what we have here.” For those who have not yet run into one of the cult followers, think about this, the company hasn’t advertised since the year 2000, which is interesting to me, being a Marketer! Some of the above comes from an article in the New York Times. Click Here to read it all.

Anarchy Online

Anarchy OnlineNot maybe what the headline sounds like. Anarchy Online is an web-based role playing game. Joey Manley’s Web Show Guide rates it highly. Not because of the game however, but for the very well done 3D-rendered movie series produced by game developer Funcom to promote this online multiplayer role-playing game. There are four (quite long by web show standards) episodes so far, and each episode consists of from three to five separate downloadable movies. I haven’t been tempted to join in the game yet, that is not really my thing, but I have enjoyed watching the movies. You don’t have to be an Anarchy Online player, or a gamer at all, to watch. But if like me, you’ve got the scifi/fantasy bug, you should maybe give them a try. The movies are sent by FTP so you’ll need an FTP client set up. Broadband would help.

Blowing Own Trumpet Today

Sorry about this, but I’m just going to have to mention that this site had over eleven hundred visitors last week. That’s a record. I know I have a certain number of regular readers, but it’s amazing what the odd combination of the new Honda TV commercial and the Iraqi Information Minister can do to one’s ratings!

I never put things on this site with a view to deliberately increasing the hits. Rather, the number of visits shows that some people at least, are interested in the same things as me. Hopefully, all those people who came here from a search engine, will have found a pointer to what interested them. The only one who won’t have, is whomever arrived looking for information on the Spiders to be found in Kuwait. I can understand why that search ended up here, because I have mentioned Kuwait (in the Antodites to Pictures of People Fighting) and “spiders” in the visiting Web Spider list. My apologies to you, anyway. Now, if I could only think of a way to make money from this . . . I know, here’s a banner for a company I work with . . .