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Little Honda

June 26, 2008 | 11 Comments

Post to the Host:
I recently saw a Honda commercial, supposedly done in many many takes, without the use of computers. It uses parts of a Honda car operating in a Rube Goldberg fashion - and you did the voice-over "wouldn't it be nice if everything worked like this" . The question is: to your knowledge, was this for real or was the whole thing done (as I believe) by computer graphics. Enjoy your show - sometimes enjoy the columns in the Chicago Tribune even if disagreeing sometimes.

Glenn M.

The word I got from Weiden & Kennedy, the ad agency in London, Glenn, is that the Honda commercial was done in real time in one take and that it only took a few takes to achieve perfection. If engineers were involved, as surely they were, I don't think they would've been satisfied with computer graphics. Engineers are deeply into reality.



This commercial is a favorite of the technical staff at PHC. The story that I have heard is that it took many hundreds of takes and that it was an incredible effort. There are absolutely no computer graphics or camera tricks involved. It is one camera shot. And all of the parts used come from one Toyota van, the same model as the one at the end of the shot. There are long discussions about the making of the ad out there but I can't find them right now.

Albert Webster

"The Making of Honda Cog" on Youtube indicates it took over 600 takes, after months of preparation work. Getting things to "just work" isn't simple.

Please people. The tires roll uphill.


The ad comprises "two takes stitched together with some CGI".

"The first section ends and the second one begins at the one minute mark when an exhaust box rolls off to the right of the screen. Some clever editing bridges the two parts."

Yes, matt, the tire runs uphill. There were some weights inside it.

So I've consulted with the real expert on our staff about things such as this. The replys above are correct. What you see is two of the 606 takes stitched together where the muffler rolls across the floor, with a little bit of CGI to adjust the lighting on the banner at the end. And the tires do roll uphill...they were weighted.

I confess to a little disappointment but I still love it.


the tires roll uphill because of weights placed in appropriate places. According to Honda's website, it was 600+ takes and it's all one take, no editing, no matter what the Guardian and says.

I saw this about a year or so ago and remember reading that it took a LOT of takes.

I don't know about editing and stitching but it's a great commercial.

it would be cool if they would just tell us.

We might be more impressed -- either that they did it in one take, or that they stitched it.

is it real or is it an animated cartoon?

As an engineer, it looks to me like there are at least a couple of places where some basic laws of science are violated, including tires increasing speed as they roll up hill (as noticed by Matt Hotopp. I'd guess such a finely tuned system probably took a lot of fiddling to get right,. However, one take or 600, I really enjoyed watching it.

I'd disagree about engineers being unhappy with computer graphics. Scientists are the perfectionists - engineers generally just want to get things done. But if the computer graphics looked fake, well, thats a different story.

Hmmmm... I expect they received 'a word from the American Duct Tape Council. (DUCKS) Duct tape……it's the only thing that always works almost. D u c t t a p e!'

As a big fan of GK and PHC, I was disappointed by his association with this ad and praise for it expressed on this site. Its awesome achievement is undermined by the fact that it is an outright rip off of a well know video art work entitled (in English) "The Way Things Go" by the Swiss team of Fischli & Weiss. The artists sued the ad company in Great Britain but eventually ran out of funds, not able to compete with the company's deep pockets.

PHC is such an original show, and GK such an original and unique artist, I feel it necessary to point out that there was nothing original about the VW ad, in defense of two other original artists whose work was ripped off for profit.

Bob Arnold

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