The Mayne Objective: To Each Their Own, Indeed.

May 16, 2011

2 Min Read
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The Honda Civic is, arguably, the compact segment's benchmark vehicle in the U.S.

Smart and sensible, it's been among the nation's top five best-selling cars for 15 of the last 20 years, according to Ward's data.

The other five years, it never ranked lower than seventh.

In Hollywood, that kind of track record makes you an A-Lister. So what's up with the recent Looney Toon cameos?

Honda's new ad campaign, dubbed "To Each Their Own," features characters inspired by cartoons. And not superhero types. I'm talking the Island of Misfit Toys: a zombie, a woolly troll, a masked castoff from the WWF.

The characters are so odd, they overwhelm. And the Civic takes on all the importance of a movie extra.

“We think it’s a youthful campaign, but it’s not alienating to older folks,” American Honda marketing vice presisdent Steve Center tells Ward's.

Really? Actors make a living KILLING zombies. Or running from them. Often screaming.

Note to Honda: Respectfully suggest you depict a zombie driving a competitor's car.

Gallows Humor . . .

To paraphrase a fellow scribe, beleaguered Saab looks like "dead brand walking."

But in keeping with the comic-character theme here, I'm reminded more of the running football gag involving would-be placekicker Charlie Brown and his demonic holder, Lucy. Every time CB is set to kick off, Lucy snatches the ball away.

I imagine Saab as Charlie Brown and Koenigsegg, Hawtai, GM (pick one) as Lucy.

Comic Relief . . .

Bill Ford is as gracious as they come.

Colorful investor Evelyn Y. Davis has stolen the spotlight at every Blue Oval shareholders meeting since Merrill met Lynch. Or so it seems.

Currently, Chairman Bill Ford is her target of choice. Davis regularly admonishes the Ford family scion in long-winded monologues that reveal a decided dearth of industry insight. (Three years ago, she called for the ouster of CEO Alan Mulally.)

Bill patiently listens, sometimes engaging Davis with playful banter. But he is always respectful.

This year, the fiery 81-year-old Davis could not attend. So she asked her favorite foil to present a proposal on her behalf.

The motion called for Ford to disclose the company's political contributions. It was rejected out of hand.

Said Bill, with affection: “That went a lot quicker without Evelyn here.”

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