For its last several generation cycles, Acura has been trying to find a brand identity. The cancellation of the Integra/RSX, the long hiatus of the NSX, and the adoption of various corporate grilles haven’t done it any favors. More recently, though, Acura’s been trying to integrate (ha!) some classic sports cars into its advertising in the hopes of rekindling that enthusiast flame.
The latest attempt is a new commercial titled “Two Words,” in which Acura drivers, engineers, and racers egg each other on with a catchphrase comprised of — you guessed it — two words. Apparently, it’s mean to show how dedication to competition and achievement is infused throughout the company, etc. Incidentally, the catchphrase is “Beat that,” which is, as catchphrases go, more beer commercial than luxury car advert.
Anyway, the spot opens with a stock Integra Type R and an original NSX frolicking in the streets. In theory, this is good. As performance machines of the highest caliber, these cars were meant to frolic. But come on, J-turns and e-brake slides? Those are direct-to-video Hollywood ideas of what performance driving is. They are not cool to anyone over the age of 15, and as Jim Rockford proved, do not require an 8,400 rpm redline or a pioneering variable valve timing system to do.
These days, a low-mileage Acura Integra Type R is an $82,000 car and all remaining stock ones are on Bring A Trailer. So where did Acura get such a fine, stock-looking Championship White example to hoon? Hopefully not from the American Honda Collection. Film sets are notoriously bad for damaging cars even when they’re sitting still. It’s not that we’re opposed to seeing an ITR being given the full beans, either. Take it to Tsukuba Circuit or show it giving a far more legendary car the night sweats, but don’t subject it to this high school parking lot stunt show.
Also, Acura, hope you didn’t get pulled over on the way home from the shoot; the left rear brake light on the NSX is out.
We appreciate that Acura is building their identity on the cars that made them great. But please do it in a manner that doesn’t insult the audience, like the 2018 spot titled “Launch,” which attempts to draw a line from the NSX and ITR to the RDX. The ad is offensive on multiple levels, including the use of the terrible Motorhead cover of “Sympathy for the Devil” and the idea that there isn’t a Grand Canyon-sized chasm lying between Acura’s Bubble Era icons and a modern crossover.
Obviously, we at JNC are huge advocates of incorporating heritage into any public-facing message a carmaker wants to deliver. It’s just that there’s a wrong way to do it and — see below — a right way to do it,