Honda and Channel 4 Make UK 'Live Ad' History

30 May 2008

LONDON: Thursday evening saw Britain's state-owned commercial broadcaster Channel 4  and automaker Honda make UK advertising history with the nation's first ever live TV commercial.

Aired at 8.10pm last night (Thursday), it showed nineteen skydivers, changing formation whilst in freefall to spell-out the word 'Honda' letter by letter.

The event is said to have been inspired by the automaker's current strapline 'Difficult is worth doing'.

All depended on the weather – heavy cloud or strong winds would have put a stop to the event – but the weather gods in the vicinity of Madrid, Spain were in benevolent mood.

But what if the weather had prevented the jump? Prior to the event Honda's manager of customer communications Ian Armstrong, was in philosophical mode: "There will be no time delay and no CGI. If it works, people will know who it's for. If it doesn't, they won't," he said. 

Following the jump C4 sales director Andy Barnes was ebullient: "We wanted to create something unmissable and what better way to produce something 'must see' than to stage the first live ad event on TV … It's about creating talkability on a big scale, managing the risk and being seen as pioneers for it."

The event proved a spectacular taster for Honda's new multi-million pound (non-live) ad campaign, which features 45 skydivers promoting the automaker's Accord range by creating a series of shapes over the USA's Mojave desert, each shape depicting one of the car's new features.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff