2012 Honda Civic 'To Each Their Own' campaignEnlarge Photo
The Honda Civic is a stalwart in the auto industry -- a car with a legendary lifespan, a reputation for reliability, and a slew of loyal owners. Despite decades of evolution, however, there's one thing that the Honda Civic generally isn't: exciting. Honda is hoping to change the Civic's image with a new campaign for the 2012 model, and the company's efforts might pay off -- if someone would bother to proofread the ad copy.
In theory, the Civic campaign works fine. Honda's ad agency, RPA, has imagined five extreme types of Civic owners -- one for each of the 2012 Civic variants. The types are a spot-on match for the young, hipster target demographic: they include a zombie, a luchador, and, yes, a ninja. (Left on the cutting room floor: a pirate, a unicorn, and the double-rainbow guy.)
Each of those types is paired with one of the Civic variants. For example: "The Ninja, Aiko, is cute, innocent and deadly. A martial-arts phenom who's partial to red licorice and arcade games, she pairs well with the high-energy performance of the Si model." That serves the purpose of distinguishing each of the Civic models quickly and graphically. So far, so good.
The problem -- apart from the fact that some believe the 2012 Civic itself is as exciting as a new toothbrush -- comes in the campaign slogan: "To Each Their Own".
Now, if that doesn't immediately raise the hair on the back of your neck, great: just sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the campaign. If you're a grammar nerd, though, that slogan is a brick wall standing between you and the Honda Civic.
Without getting too Miss Crabtree too early in the day, the slogan's problem is that "each" and "their" should agree, but "each" is singular, while "their" is obviously plural. "To Each His Own" would've been fine, as would "To Each Her Own", but with either of those choices, Honda would've risked alienating 50% of its potential customers. Not good.
RPA would've had an easier go of it in a language like French, where there's a third-person, genderless possessive pronoun (e.g. "Chacun à son goût"). English speakers don't get that luxury, so the closest the agency could've come with this particular slogan would've been "To Each One's Own", which sounds terrible.
Our suggestion? Keep the characters (they're fun and interesting), keep the color scheme (we dig retro), but ditch the slogan. Depending on whom you read, there are between 200,000 and 1,000,000 words in the English language. How hard could it be to pick another four?