In the early 1980s the Honda Motor Company was trying to get people to think of its new Honda Elite scooters as a cool way of getting around. To that end, the company enlisted a series of celebrities, including Miles Davis, Grace Jones and Devo, to appear in its ad campaign. The most notable piece in the campaign, by far, was a one-minute TV commercial in 1984 starring former Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed.
The film was shot in what was then a very rough-and-tumble Lower East Side of Manhattan. Director Steve Horn, hired by the Portland, Oregon-based agency Wieden & Kennedy, underexposed and overdeveloped the film to give it a grainy, documentary appearance.
"The generation being advertised to at that point was probably the most cynical and suspicious toward the medium to date,"
When it was finished, Bridges and his colleagues arranged a meeting with a marketing manager from Honda. It was a nerve-racking encounter.
"The client was a very shrewd, practical person and I knew that he was averse to conspicuously daring creative work," says Bridges. "This gritty, almost avant-garde spot, set in pre-gentrified Lower Manhattan with every art film trope you could imagine might have put considerable demands on his charm." Instead, Bridges recalls, when the commercial was finished playing the man from Honda broke the tension by saying, "We need to be THAT scooter company."
turn up your speakers for the bass, Doo-Doo Girls --- and the sax!