Ad of the Day: Honda Puts Its History on Paper in This Amazing 2-Minute PES Animation

RPA goes back to basics

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Those who were disappointed that animator PES wasn't hired for this Ikea spot will rejoice today upon seeing the Oscar nominee's latest brand work—a remarkable two-minute Honda spot from RPA that tells Honda's entire history though an intricate paper-flipping journey.

The spot, titled "Paper," which took months to make, broke Sunday during CBS's NFL games. It features thousands of hand-drawn illustrations from various artists—filmed by stop-motion wizard PES—that show Honda's mobility products through the years. It opens with founder Soichiro Honda's use of a radio generator to power his wife's bicycle, and continues through the company's development of motorcycles, outboard motors, CVCC vehicles, automobiles, race cars, robotics and more.

The film, while devised in CGI, was shot practically, with a few scenes stitched together.

Honda has told its history many times before—notably in spots out of Wieden + Kennedy London like 2013's "Hands" and, going back a decade, "Impossible Dream." Much like the "Hands" spot, "Paper" aims to embody—rather than just tell—the Honda brand promise, by being as impeccably engineered as the products themselves.

"The goal is for the marketing itself to become a demonstration of Honda thinking and all the people that touch our wide range of products along the way," said Tom Peyton, assistant vice president of marketing for American Honda Motor Co. "This commercial stands for the courage and conviction to imagine and make dreams a reality and speaks to Honda's innovative nature and respect for personal achievement and contributions."

Conceptually, "Paper" is about as stripped down as you can get—every complex vehicle, after all, starts with a few sketches on paper. And the details pay off the lofty concept, as we move from the sepia-toned early scenes to modern graph paper by the end.

The tagline is, ""You never know where a dream will lead you."

The spot will get further full two-minute airings on network shows including Dancing with the Stars, Rosewood, Minority Report and Blue Bloods, and on ESPN next weekend during Saturday College Football. A 60-second version will air throughout October on NBC, CBS, Fox and ABC. It's also on Facebook and YouTube.

Check out the behind-the-scenes video below, including commentary from PES himself.


Client: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Title: "Paper" :117

First Air: 9/20/15


Agency: RPA

EVP, CCO: Joe Baratelli

SVP, ECD: Jason Sperling

VP, CD/Art Director: Chuck Blackwell

VP, CD/Copywriter: Ken Pappanduros

Senior Copywriter: Chris Bradford

Art Director: Laura Crigler

Copywriter: Josh Hepburn

SVP, Chief Production Officer: Gary Paticoff

VP, Executive Producer: Isadora Chesler

Producer: Matt Magsaysay

SVP, Group Strategic Planning Director: Christian Cocker

VP, Director of Business Affairs: Maria Del Homme

EVP, Management Account Director: Brett Bender

VP, Group Account Directors: Adam Blankenship & Jeff Moohr

Management Supervisor: Rose McRitchie

Account Executives: Susan Kim & Paul Sulzer

Product Information Manager: Marco Fantone

Production Company: Reset Content

Director: PES 

Managing Director: Dave Morrison 

Executive Producers: Jen Beitler & Jeff McDougall 

Head of Production: Amanda Clune 

Producer: Stan Sawicki 

DP: Eric Adkins 

Production Supervisor: Mario D'Amici 

Production Designer: John Joyce 

Motion Control Operator: Mark Eifert 

Motion Control Assistant: Calvin Frederick 

Animation Supervisor: Eileen Kohlhepp 

Animators: Amy Adamy, Sihanouk Mariona, David Braun, Julian Petschek, Javan Ivey, Jen Prokopowicz, Brandon Lake, Ranko Tadic & Quique Rivera

Illustrators: Jerrod McIlvain, Nicole Cardiff, Vincent Lucido, Arwen King, Meghan Boehman, Monica Magana, Kei Chong, Trevor Brown & Alex Theodoropulos

Set Dresser/Painter: Veronica Hwang

Illustration Coordinator: Evan Koehne

Art Department: Nate Theis, Ellen Ridgeway, Melissa Quezada

Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors

Editor: Stewart Reeves

EP: Angela Dorian

Producer: Leah Carnahan-Dogruer

Assistant Editor: Jasmina Zaharieva

VFX & Finishing: A52

VFX Supervisor & Lead Flame: Andy Rafael Barrios  

CG Supervisor: Kirk Shintani  

EP: Patrick Nugent 

Producer: Lusia Boryczko 

Head of Production: Kim Christensen 

Executive Producer: Patrick Nugent 

2D VFX Artists: Michael Plescia, Enid Dalkoff, Chris Moore, Cam Coombs, Michael Vagilenty

CG Artists: Aaron Baker, Mike Bettinardi, Michael Cardenas, Jon Belcome, Joe Chiechi

Pre-Viz: Ranko Tadic, Ingolfur Guomundsson, Benito Vargas

Colorist: Tommy Hooper

Online Editor: Dan Ellis

Color/Online Assist: Gabe Sanchez, Chris Riley, Erik Rojas

Roto Artists: Cathy Shaw, Robert Shaw, Tiffany Germann

Sound Design: Factory UK – Sound Design Studios

Sound Designer: Phil Bolland

Head of Production: Lou Allen

Mix: Lime Studios

Re-Recording Mixer: Dave Wagg

Assistant Re-Recording Mixer: Adam Primack

Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan


VP, Creative Social Media Director: J Barbush

VP, CD/Art Director: Chuck Blackwell

VP, CD/Copywriter: Ken Pappanduros

Senior Copywriter: Chris Bradford

Art Director: Laura Crigler

Copywriter: Josh Hepburn

Producer: Matt Magsaysay

Editor: A'sia Horne-Smith

EVP, Management Account Director: Brett Bender

VP, Group Account Director: Adam Blankenship

Account Supervisor: Renee Egizi-Finger

Account Executive: Kaelin McGill

VP, Associate Director, Digital Marketing: Aaron Dodez

Supervisor, Digital Content Strategy: Mike Dossett

Sr. Specialists, Digital Content Strategy: Tyler Sweeney & Hartman Wong

Associate Digital Producer: Connor Gomez

Program Manager: Melissa Heitman

—Behind The Scenes

Senior Copywriter: Chris Bradford

Art Director: Laura Crigler

Copywriter: Josh Hepburn

Producer: Matt Magsaysay

Associate Digital Producer: Connor Gomez

VP, Group Account Director: Adam Blankenship

Management Supervisor: Rose McRitchie

Account Executive: Susan Kim

Post Production: Bo's House of Visual Arts @ RPA

Post Producer: Eddie Granado

Editor: Wendy Sandoval

Lead Cameraman: Zach Grant 

Cameraman/pick up shots: Mark Tripp

Graphics: Michael Kelley

Color: Augie Arredondo

Final Mix/Audio: Lime Studios

Mixer: Mark Meyuhas


Video Technology: WIREWAX

Business Development & Creative Services: Bea DiCarlo

EVP, CCO: Joe Baratelli

SVP, ECD: Jason Sperling 

VP, Digital Design Director: Michael Takeshita 

VP, CD/Art Director: Chuck Blackwell 

VP, CD/Copywriter: Ken Pappanduros 

Art Director: Jesse Echon 

Copywriter: Michael Chen 

VP, Director of Digital Production: Dave Brezinski 

Executive Digital Producer: Linda Kim 

Associate Digital Producer: Connor Gomez 

EVP, Management Account Director: Brett Bender 

VP, Group Account Director: Adam Blankenship 

Management Supervisor: Rose McRitchie 

Account Executive: Susan Kim 

Program Manager: Melissa Heitman

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: September 21, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT