Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday 31 May 2008

"The Power of Dreams". Smashed.

Were you watching Channel4 on Thursday evening (29th May)? I was. Well, if you were too, you may recall having seen an advertisement during the 'Come Dine with Me' programme which was quite spectacular - I think it was the mid-point advertising break around 8.30pm - basically it showed some stunt parachutists jumping out of a light aircraft and free-falling in formation, whilst spelling out the name of the car manufacturer one of whose advertising slogans is included in the title of this post; I speak of course of 'Honda'.

As usual with Honda ads it was innovative and highly-sophisticated - so sophisticated that nothing so vulgar as showing an actual car was included. Here's a link to a story carried in a UK tabloid the next day (the Sun) about the stunt. Here's another link to a story about the advertisement.

So far so good. After the parachutists had spelled out the name, we saw them breaking formation and pulling the ripcords to release their parachutes. Excellent stunt, another 'winning' advert for Honda!

Unfortunately yesterday the stunt team must have been undertaking another flight and it seems to have gone badly wrong - for reasons as yet unknown the wing came of the light aircraft and the parachutists had to attempt to jump to safety - however, two were killed (the Spanish pilot and one of the parachutists, a Brazilian). The accident took place near Toledo. Spanish news reports here (in Spanish) and here (in English). There is a brief BBC report here.

One wonders what other visual wizardry Honda has got up its sleeves for our 'edification' and amusement in days and weeks to come? I wonder, in particular, whether the ad will have the follow-on on Sunday suggested by the Sun in the linked story above?

Some will probably say that such advertising is both dangerous and wasteful, quite part from the fact that it is employing huge resources in support of sordid economic gain. If such criticisms are levied I would wish to dissociate myself from them. Life is sometimes dangerous and 'dreams' sometimes involve a risk. The 'health & safety' merchants would have us wrapped in cotton wool, fearful of stepping out of our doors, but I hope Honda will not allow its somewhat whimsical approach to advertising its products to be stopped in its tracks by this tragedy.

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