Of the many Super Bowl ads that are being promoted. one of my favorites is Honda’s Yearbook ad. In this :60 commercial, photos of Tina Fey, Amy Adams, Jimmy Kimmel, Steve Carell, Viola Davis, Missy Elliott, Magic Johnson, Stan Lee and Robert Redford when they were young appear to “speak” from the pages of old yearbooks.
I happen to be a Honda owner and fan so I’d watch a Honda commercial regardless of how clever it was. But this commercial was not only clever, it was funny and inspiring and full of cool effects from ad agency RPA and director Angus Wall.
In an article in AdAge, RPA Creative Director Jason Sperling outlined the process of making the ad, starting with choosing the talent. The agency approached the four main Hollywood talent agencies with the idea and budget, and the company who put together the best group got their stars in the spot.
Once the celebrities were chosen, RPA obtained their school photos, which were placed into shots of real yearbooks. According to Sperling, the process of making the photos speak was a trial-and-error process that involved a 3D camera, witness cams, and lookalike stand-ins delivering the celebrities' pre-recorded voiceovers. As for the words themselves, the agency wrote the lines and the stars improvised from there.
I wondered how they got permission to use the photos of the individuals that surround the celebrity photos, and it turns out it was an inside job. Honda and RPA used photos of staff and their families under fake names to fill out the page.