One has to give it to the guys at Honda. Season after season, they offer enough fodder for the journalista to chew upon, by making tall claims well before they lineup on the grid. But two less than bright seasons and a political upheaval later, they seemed to have mellowed down. Or so I thought, until they began to hold secret talks with the Grinch. The result was the RA107. No sponsors. No advertising. No die cuts or carefully chosen typefaces. No logos. No corporate colors either. In one stroke, Honda rendered the entire racing decals industry useless.
Presenting the Honda way of building a formula one car. Simply assemble your car and accidentally run it through a paint factory. Or, simply assemble your car, put it in the wind tunnel, place a couple of paint buckets in front of the car and run the fan at full blast. It made me wonder how a solid brand like Honda can justify such a strange move. So I hurriedly logged onto www.myearthdream.com
There I was presented with a grand vision that certainly impressed me. I was even told that their car can be mine in return for a little pledge – nothing big, but a minor adjustment to my lifestyle in order to help the environment. The website offered, *your name would appear in a pixel not only on the digital car, but also as a teeny part of the artwork on the real F1 car.* Now, that’s innovative. So quickly filled in my details – First Name: Vijay Simha, Last Name: Vellanki, E-mail Address: email@example.com, Location: India, Pledge: Not leave any of my appliances on standby or on my phone on charge unnecessarily. Amount in GBP: Errr…..now what’s this? Thankfully, the amount box already had a zero in it, so I went ahead and clicked the next button. A message popped up. “Please enter an amount greater than 1 and less than 10000.”
Holy cow! I care for the environment. I even don’t mind being a pixel on a car. But I wouldn’t pay Honda for it! That’s when it dawned upon me that Honda is trying to fund its funny car project with our money. The tricky part is that we won’t even have the power to dictate the size of our names on the car. Instantly I knew that those darned MBAs were at it again. I should’ve known it. I’ve been in the advertising industry for a decade. Anyway, I sensed the con and quickly logged off. However, Honda’s sheer audacity impressed me. Why would they go to such lengths? It must be one hell of a car.
Cut to the Australian Grand Prix and Hondas were languishing at the back of the grid. The race pace wasn’t any different. The commentators talked about it, cricket fans talked about it, my wife who hates the ‘noise’ talked about it, and then an acerbic colleague talked about it. He said, “While all teams are hiring the best engineers to design their cars, Honda is hiring PR consultants to design theirs.” Beat that Honda!
* Text reproduced from http://www.myearthdream.com