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Honda - “Grooves” / Musical Road - (2008) :30 (USA)

The integrated ad campaign consists of three broadcast spots (1x:15), (1x:30), (1x:60); the 30-second spot breaks on CBS Sports on October 12. Online branded canvas ad units will be featured on NBC.com and five Internet episodes will debut on http://civic.honda.com. All capture the mathematical development and physical implementation of the historic musical road.

"Honda is an advanced engineering company, and we thought it would be interesting to connect that to the Civic advertising campaign," says Gary Paticoff, RPA’s Senior Vice President and Executive Producer. "This feat of highway orchestration began months earlier with the idea of building a road that embodies the youthful driving spirit of the Civic and connects the driver and the road. The goal was to create an experience that could be enjoyed by many and have a life of its own."

"The agency entrusted me and my Park Pictures team to create a completely original branded experience," adds Acord. "I have always been interested in the intersection of the creative and the technical. The musical road project afforded a chance to capture on film the spirit of adventure behind this singular engineering challenge."

"We set out to create buzz and excitement for a youthful icon of America, the Honda Civic. Thanks to the work of Lance Accord, Park Pictures, the open-minded attitude of our clients at American Honda and dozens of Associates at RPA, we have succeeded on a grand scale," said David Smith, EVP, Executive Creative Director at RPA. "The internet chatter, the enthusiasm from those who have experienced “The Civic Musical Road’ and the amazing press coverage are all testament to the power of delivering a cool idea to a target that appreciates it. So much notice, and the TV spots have yet to break."

The concept of the musical road is similar to a record player needle vibrating over the grooves of a vinyl LP. The Civic Musical Road is the first of this type of phenomenon in the United States and likely the first branded musical road in the world. Unlike traditional advertising, The Civic Musical Road excites with a multisensory event, enabling motorists to look, touch, listen to and drive through an experience, then to chronicle and share that experience with friends through user-generated videos and content. According to RPA’s Paticoff, this type of deep brand connection is deemed “buzz worthy’ by Gen Y who value self-expression, Honda Civic’s primary target audience.

Honda "Grooves" opens on the high desert landscape where the planning team maps and calculates the spectrum of spacings for the notes in the William Tell Overture. With an accompanying voiceover by project leader K.K. Barrett, the musical project plan is revealed, "Here’s the idea: what if we were able to change - [rumble strip] tones into notes and then spread those notes across the lane of a freeway so that when someone drove down the road, it would play a song?"

Park Pictures’ implementation team -- consisting of Peter Andrus, project planner; Paul Du Gre, musician/mathematician; Mary Ann Marino, line producer and road scout; Bobby Pollard, materials/pitch specialist and Aimee Rousey, art director -- used rumble strips as data files to measure the slits in the road that create a certain tone. With these calculations, Avenue K in Lancaster, CA became a construction site of road graders, drill rigs, asphalt distributor trucks, vibratory rollers, and paving finishing rigs laying down the musical grooves through the desert night. Finally at dawn, Barrett says, "OK, let’s drive this thing and see what it sounds like."

Cut to the backseat perspective of a silver Honda Civic passenger cruising the quarter-mile stretch of The Civic Musical Road to the familiar tune of the William Tell Overture as the car passes over it. The action concludes with celebratory clapping and exuberance amongst the team as the viewer hears, "Good work! It’s a success." The Civic and Honda logos close out the spot.

Client: American Honda Motor Co.

Title: Honda "Grooves" :60, :30, :15

First Airdate: October 12, 2008

Shoot Location: Los Angeles, CA & Lancaster, CA

Production Company: Park Pictures, New York/Santa Monica

Directors: Lance Acord (TV); Benzo Theodore (webisodes)

DP: Lance Acord (TV); Benzo Theodore/Ross Harris/ZS Grant (webisodes)

Executive Producer: Jackie Kelman Bisbee

Producer: Mary Ann Marino

Associate Producer: Ahnee Boyce

Advertising Agency: RPA, Santa Monica, CA

EVP/Executive Creative Director: David Smith; SVP, Creative Directors: Joe Baratelli; Pat Mendelson

Senior Copywriter: Adam Lowrey

Art Director: Laura Hauseman

SVP/Executive Producer: Gary Paticoff

Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors, Santa Monica, CA (TV); Park Pictures, Santa Monica, CA (webisodes)

Editors: Adam Pertofsky (TV); Ross Harris (webisodes)

Assistant Editor: Ryan Delk (TV)

Postproduction Facility: A52, Santa Monica, CA (TV); Park Pictures, Santa Monica (webisodes)

Audio Post/Sound Design Company: Frameworks, Santa Monica, CA (TV); Park Pictures, Santa Monica (webisodes)

Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Dabitch's picture

I think the idea here is great and wish I could have driven on that road.

purplesimon's picture

What do they mean, it's been paved over! Darn it, all roads should be made like this - it could just be the next idea to save the music industry from collapse!

Dabitch's picture

Hahahaha! And everything could be freeways! "This road sponsored by the Rolling Stones 'geriatric disorderly' tour 2023".

Allan1's picture

The road was paved over due to pleas from the neighbors, who were REAL tired of hearing the William Tell Overture. (Yes, there are people who live near the road).

I think they might have threatened a lawsuit or two to convince Honda that they were serious.

Dabitch's picture

Just got this in an email.

Theresa Seeber sent a message using the contact form at

I just wanted to tell you that the Musical Road in Lancaster was paved over,
but it was remade several miles away. You too can drive the road. I was
reading the blog and it never said anything so I thought I would comment, but
had trouble getting in. Maybe you could just comment again and let peeps
know. It is on Ave. G now, just west of the 14 freeway "Ave. G" exit. Peace.