Cog (television commercial)

Cog was a television advertisement for the Honda Accord, made with minimal CGI and no trick photography. It was created in 2003 by the London office of advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy.


The two-minute advert appears as a single, long camera dolly along a Heath Robinson-esque chain reaction arrangement of parts from the car. It is in fact two one-minute chain-reaction sequences, carefully set up on opposing walls of the studio and stitched together [ [ Practical Motion | Trevor Boyer | Digital Content Producer] ] , the join being at the moment where the muffler/exhaust box rolls across the floor (this can be seen by watching the floor pattern change). The advert took 606 different takes to complete, and only minuscule CGI was used, for lighting highlights and slowing down the motion at one point. The cars featured, one disassembled for the pieces and the other on the trailer, were two of the six hand-built pre-mass production Accords.] [ [,12977,946531,00.html Did they really make that Honda advert in one take? | Science | The Guardian ] ]

The sequence starts with a transmission bearing rolling into a synchro hub. This sets off a cascade of movement; windscreen wipers 'walk' across the floor, valves roll down a bonnet and carefully weighted tires roll uphill. The advert ends when the power door locks on a complete Accord are triggered, causing the hatchback to close, tipping the car off a balanced trailer and into a final pose in front of the camera. The voice of US author Garrison Keillor queries "Isn't it nice... when things just... "work"?", while the song "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang plays in the background.

Legal issues

According to Snopes, "in May 2003, filmmakers Peter Fischli and David Weiss threatened legal action against Honda over similarities between the "Cog" advert and "The Way Things Go [ [ The Way Things Go ] ] ", a 30-minute film they produced in 1987 involving '100 feet of physical interactions, chemical reactions, and precisely crafted chaos worthy of Rube Goldberg or Alfred Hitchcock.'"

In 2006, Honda UK continued the crafted theme with a new advertisement for their Civic using a choir as Foley artists. [ [ Honda (UK) - Civic ] ]

Parodies & tributes

A parody of this advert was recently created by the BBC to promote sport on the BBC Local Radio, by using bits found in a football locker room. It finalizes with a kick of a football into a goal.

Others to parody the popular advert include The Number for 118 118, a UK directory enquiries service.

The advert has been widely acclaimed by Australian Media as an effective marketing tool for the Honda brand - spearheaded by Honda's media agency, ZenithOptimedia Melbourne.

A video of similar concept using various pieces of sports equipment was made by New Zealander, Evan Yates as the winning entry to a competition hosted by local television programme, Sportscafe. Sponsored by Vodafone, the "Best Sporting Trick" competition prize was a trip to the UK to meet English footballer, David Beckham.

A similar ad for the breakfast cereal Frosties featured a Rube Goldberg machine involving a bowl having cereal and milk poured into from chain reactions set off by other household objects.

Advert Credits

*Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
*Production Company: Partizan Midi Minuit
*Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
*Agency Producer: Rob Steiner
*Agency Creatives: Matt Gooden & Ben Walker
*Post Production: The Mill, London
*Producer: Fi Kilroe
*Flame Operator: Barnsley
*Flame Assistant: Dave Birkill
*Planner: Russell Davies


External links

* [ A link to the video, how the video was made, and an illustrated guide to what's going on in the video]
* [ Cog] video download (11.6MB)
* The Cog video downloads (accessed 31 December 2005): [ 4MB mov via BitTorrent] available at
* [ The Number parody]
* [ Practical Motion (Interview with agency producer Steiner, editor Barnsley)]
* [!-Camera!-Retake!.html Lights! Camera! Retake!]
* [ Top Ten Car Adverts with video]
* [ Honda Accord commercial "Cog"]

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