New campaign proves ‘Difficult is worth doing' with team of skydivers

Honda (UK) will stage Britain's first ever truly live TV advertisement this Thursday evening (29 May) on Channel 4.

The three minute live spot – which airs at 8.10pm – will be shown in real-time with no special effects, demonstrating the ‘Difficult Is Worth Doing' philosophy of Honda's marketing campaign for its new Accord car.

The campaign continues this Sunday, 1 June when ‘Jump', the main TV advert, debuts. Filmed in the Mojave Desert, California, the ad features a large team of skydivers attempting to form shapes in the sky that hint at new technologies on the Honda Accord. These shapes include a suspension spring, a camera, a steering wheel; and ultimately the word ‘Accord'.

The live ad takes its lead from this creative – with a team of 19 skydivers attempting to form the letters ‘H' ‘O' ‘N' ‘D' ‘A' within the live three minute time limit.

Both ads are based on the wisdom of Honda's founder, Soichiro Honda, who once said ‘Difficult is worth doing'. This philosophy is expressed through Honda's new Accord, created by a development team working together to overcome engineering challenges. As well as giving the car a host of technological innovations that improve safety and equipment levels, the engineers "played tug-of-war" with the project budget to ensure the Accord excels in the right areas – maximising the comfort and support of its front seats, for example.

"The campaign has been difficult, but it was definitely worth doing!" says Harry Cooklin, Marketing Communications Manager of Honda (UK). "We are always looking to move the boundaries when it comes to our advertising, and so being involved in the UK's first truly live TV advert is perfect for us. It provides the ideal platform to take us into the final phase of the Accord campaign."

Both ads follow a strategy of gradually building momentum and noise for the concept of ‘Difficult Is Worth Doing' in the run up to the launch of the new car. The first activity broke on 21 April with a national poster campaign, followed by press and digital advertising. On 12 May a teaser TV campaign began featuring five short unbranded films depicting seemingly abstract glimpses of a skydiving team preparing themselves for a large event. The only clue as to what company, or product, is behind the short films is a web address at the end

The campaign was devised by Honda UK's core agency team of Wieden & Kennedy, Starcom, Collective and Hicklin Slade & Partners. ‘Jump' was created by Tony Davidson and Kim Papworth of Wieden & Kennedy.

Further details at

Some interesting facts…

The ‘Jump' advertisement

  • 45 skydivers appear in the film
  • Each jump required around five cameras in the air at any one time, with a maximum of one minute of footage captured on each jump
  • The 35mm cameras used weigh 35lbs, and were worn on the helmets of cameramen – requiring considerable training to avoid snapping the neck of the wearer when they release their parachute
  • The ad required the skills of famed aerial stunt coordinator BJ Worth – who has countless film credits including several Bond films over a thirty year period to his name
  • BJ orchestrated six jumps per day for a total of 10 days
  • Part of the shoot involved filming high speed divers reaching up to 300mph – meaning the cameraman had to curl up in a ball in order to fall faster than the skydiver
  • The oldest skydiver who took part in the ad was 65

The new Honda Accord

  • Intelligent climate control uses hi-tech optical sensors to determine the sun's position so the Accord can adjust its interior climate creating a constant and comfortable temperature at all times
  • An Accord fitted with Honda's Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) can almost drive itself! LKAS technology helps the car remain in the centre of the lane by ‘reading' white lines and adjusting the power steering, while ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) measures the distance to the car in front, and adjusts the cruise speed accordingly
  • Debuting on the new Accord is Motion Adaptive EPS which detects instability during cornering and under braking, and prompts the driver to steer the car in the correct direction
  • Toshiro Morita, Assistant Large Project Leader, promised 'no expense spared' on the Accord's comfy and supportive front seats – and to pay for these, he had to cut costs somewhere. He did this in the spare wheel well, making the recess square as there was no need to make it circular!
  • The previous Accord had two different teams, one working on saloon, one on Tourer - this time round, both the Accord Tourer and saloon share the same platform. This means the Tourer is just as sporty and involving to drive as its saloon counterpart, while retaining its versatility and generous load capacity
  • In less than a year, Honda's first automatic diesel will debut on the Accord
  • The outgoing Honda Accord was the subject of the most-awarded TV advert ever: ‘Cog'
  • Over 16,000,000 Accords have been sold worldwide
  • The first generation Accord was launched over 30 years ago in 1976