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Honda on eco drive

Honda has appointed creative agency Wieden & Kennedy to develop an environmental advertising plan using its £100m-plus budget across Europe and Africa.

The Japanese car manufacturer has set itself a target of becoming the automotive industry's most environmentally friendly company by 2015.

Honda has appointed W&K Amsterdam, following a five-way pitch, to work across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia.

The agency's first task in a wider, long-term strategy is to launch a new hybrid car, the Honda Insight, across Europe with a major TV, press and digital ad campaign in the new year.

W&K London, which started working with Honda in 2002, has created a string of award-winning TV commercials including "Cog", "Choir" and "Impossible Dream", as well as print ads such as "Banana" and "Perfume".

The agency was also responsible for the TV ad "Grrr", featuring an animated eco-friendly diesel engine and the jingle "Hate something, change something", and "Sense", which showed lights dimming and brightening as a car drives past to dramatise a hybrid model.

"Where we want to be by 2015 is the environmental leader. I mean that in a credible sense, not a greenwash sense," Chris Brown, the head of marketing for Honda Motor Europe, told The Guardian.

In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority has been on a crusade to stamp out misleading eco-claims in the increasing number of environmentally-themed ads being run by car manufacturers.

"We want to change the conversation completely. At the moment everything is heavy-handed, preachy and over-whelming. We want it to be positive, optimistic, joyful, powerful," Brown added.

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