Honda Shows How Not To Sell Its New Clarity Fuel Cell – Advertising Video

FEB 10 2017 BY JAY COLE 87

When it comes to selling zero emission vehicles, the auto industry seems to rarely “get it right”, there is always some obscure references, the playing down of the actual abilities and benefits of the vehicle over some obscure or visceral aspect of ‘greenness’.

Are they intentionally sabotaging the cells and just focusing on marketing for the “halo” effect of offering green products?

No! No! A Thousand Times, No!

We often wonder, especially after seeing Honda’s most recent advertising spot surrounding the Fuel Cell Clarity – which is now on sale in California.

The new advertisement mostly consists of a chorus of children – well at least their heads anyway, floating around randomly, singing who knows what (Honda states they are “singing hydrogen molecules”), and not showing the Clarity itself until the last moment – let alone talking about what it can do.

The ad will be aired regionally in California beginning on February 26th with the Academy Awards.

Hopefully when the all-electric version of the Clarity arrives later this year (and the plug-in hybrid varient a short time later) Honda gets its act together.  Or just doesn’t do anything at all.




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87 Comments on "Honda Shows How Not To Sell Its New Clarity Fuel Cell – Advertising Video"

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Wow, that’s one of the worst commercials – not just worst car commercials – that I’ve EVER seen!

Ijmijonjak stu catso Etc:

That Hydrogen Bomb on wheels is a Disaster waiting to happen..Why do they Promote such a thing?

ZEV Credits and kickbacks from the Fossil fuel Industry.

Hydrogen has to be created from something else (typically carbon based fuels) and requires additional energy for not only the conversion, but storage, transport & delivery into highly pressurized vehicle fuel tanks.

There is nothing green nor efficient about Hydrogen in Passenger Vehicles.

Ijmijonjak stu catso Etc:

That is a Good & what I found to be a True Explanation .. thx…

Everyone: See the Ulf Bossel paper, “Does a hydrogen economy make sense?”. Google the author and title, and download paper E21.PDF; it’s from the October 2006 Proceedings of the IEEE.

He does a grid-to-wheels analysis of FCEV vs. BEV, and the BEV wins by a wide margin. If you start with 100kWh of electricity, a BEV delivers 69 to the wheels, while a FCEV delivers only 19 to 23, depending on how the H is stored and transported.

HFCEVs are an astonishing boondoggle that can’t compete with the Bolt, Leaf 2.0, and Tesla 3, and I, for one, can’t wait to see them fail miserably and stop being a distraction.

But those singing hydrogen molecules are just so gosh darn adorable. Hydrogen – like our children – are the future!!! Why do you have to be such a downer by bringing facts into the discussion?

Yup. Hydrogen is horrible for many reasons…

There is also the matter of it leaking out of its storage containers, embrittling metals it comes in contact with, and forming damaging corrosion. A lot of precious metals are used to prevent this (coatings), which generally makes anything using it as a fuel, very expensive to manufacture and service.

If you want to get to 100% no fossil fuels then you need the electrolysis / fuel cell chain or something equivalent which will be even less efficient. Not everywhere in the world has room for wind turbines (or other RE source) and not every car has access to the grid for 4 hours a day to charge or room to put in the 100 stall fast charging stations required for BEV’s to charge in 30 min every week (assuming 200 mile BEV). This is what would be required if people can’t charge at home. Similarly if you want to replace a HGV it is challenging to do without a fuel cell drive train due to the weight of the battery pack. I am a massive fan of EV’s and we need to get as big a percentage of our national transport fleets to battery electric as soon as possible but I can’t see how we get to 100% or even 80% BEV’s in any nation. Even if Tesla’s were free and came in every possible body shape you would still not be able to meet the needs of every driver. We have a whole battery electric vehicle industry that… Read more »

BTW – I wish that humans were more rational about transport. It is completely insane to me that there are millions of people suffering in first world countries because we insist on driving on our own long distances every day to do a job that could be done almost anywhere in massive hulking SUV’s and trucks – I would far rather we lived near where we worked and traveled on public transport or in something like a twizy. Unfortunately this isn’t going to happen so we need to develop alternatives that people are willing to use.

You act as if you have some idea what you’re talking about. Fuel cell vehicles are climate change negative whilst battery vehicles are (at best – when charged by nuclear power) climate change neutral.

That’s right the more miles a fuel cell vehicle is driven the lower the greenhouse effect. The reason is because when you produce hydrogen using SMR, you are converting what is otherwise waste methane gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide thus reducing the greenhouse effect by a factor of 20x (CH4 is a 21x stronger greenhouse gas than CO2).

Sure, you could “treat” all the world’s waste methane strictly to achieve this reductiin, but having a market for the product (hydrogen) means it will actually happen (otherwise you need to increase your taxes to pay the government to do this strictly for its environmental benefit).

Mr. Allen – There is an easier way to convert 21X GHG waste methane gas into CO2. Burn it. Ever seen a flare at a refinery or chemical plant? Go troll elsewhere.

There is plenty to criticise hydrogen fuel cell cars for; being a bomb is not one of them. Contrary to popular belief, hydrogen burns rather than explodes. In this regards it’s not more dangerous than for instance petrol or diesel. There are plenty of other things to say about it though.

There are plenty of other things to say about hydrogen. All of them extremely positive. However, there is a trump collaborator (on trumps economic council) who tweets tons of provably incorrect information about hydrogen and fuel cells, and all the teslarari regurgitate that drivel.

Educate us please Mr. Allen. What has Elon tweeted that is part of the “tons of provably incorrect information” regarding hydrogen? Let’s start with one ton. BTW – You don’t deny that hydrogen needs to be distributed to end users in a way that will emit GHGs – do you?

I will let your statement stand about “burning” rather than “exploding”. However, we are talking about a highly flammable gas. When highly flammable gases leak to the atmosphere – they tend to form a flammable vapor (or gas, in this case) cloud that can become very large before it finds an ignition source. The large ‘flash fire’ fireball that ensues is not something you want to encounter – explosion or no explosion.

I’m sure the commercial made sense in Japan. But, you had to be there.

Not only that … that they would use children’s heads especially within a heart bubble and demonic looks in their eyes is outrageously stupid. Especially with the Hollywood to DC environment that we have regarding children right now. This is symbology. 1500 pedophiles arrested recently including in many Hollywood. And they roll it out at the Oscars? Is Honda not thinking or are they part of this scandal?

Let me get this straight. Each of these sweet little kids are free floating Hydrogen atoms, and they are going to be forced into bondage with two big fat O’s 16 times bigger than them, then forced through a tailpipe?

That doesn’t sound right. Is that even legal? (not including Kentucky, of course).


Ooops, science fail due to laughter.

“forced into bondage with two big fat O’s”

should be:

“paired together and forced into bondage with a big fat O”

Maybe he means they’re forced to combine with diatomic Oxygen — O2…

But then the kids should be paired up as diatomic H2 in gaseous Hydrogen…

You are correct. However, don’t overthink this one TahoeBear. It’s meant for an American audience. It doesn’t need to be scientifically accurate.

The best part if there was one is the car covered on the left at the end is Electric.

Floating heads always look wierd

i don’t mean to be flippant here, but with all of the beheading videos that have been posted on the internet, i’m not sure that the imagery in this commercial is such a good idea. in fact, i think that it’s a pretty terrible idea. it just creates the possibility of associations that you don’t want to have getting attached to the product.

It’s like some horror movie of floating bodyless heads of kids. One has to wonder what happened to their bodies. Indeed, maybe the next one they do could be headless bodies doing some zombie dance moves.

If anyone is interested, below are five YouTube videos that are part of the above Clarity marketing campaign. Sorry SparkEV, no zombie dance moves. 🙁








ha, refueling is easy, thats funny, what a load of stuff

Meh. I think headless zombie kids dancing to Thriller would make for better commercial. Third one could be the heads mating with the bodies, and say “this is how you fill up Clarity: with little kids’ heads!”

To paraphrase Shelery, why am I not an advertising exec for Honda? 🙂

Pretty opaque for a product called “Clarity”.



i don’t see any conspiracy theory here. sometimes you just get a bad commercial. it just happens, and can happen with any product; and this commercial is bad to the degree of being just weird. i can’t think of *any* product for which you would use this commercial to sell it.

Meh. I don’t think this commercial was meant to be a stand alone advertisement, and instead was meant to be the first of a series to Honda Clarity commercials to air during the Academy Awards broadcast.

I think this commercial will catch people’s attention during a Grammy Awards commericial break, and then during the next five successive commercial breaks, Honda will run the other five talking-hydrogen-head commercials that I posted above in a response to SparkEV. Those five commerials/videos talk about the car and its underlying HFC tech, and each one starts with a short clip of the song from the first commercial, tying them together..

When viewing all six videos together, I think Honda conveyed its message well. People will remember these commercials the next day, and be talking about them around the office water cooler and on social media.

Now you are just twisting the knife



I’m sure they will sell 2 Clarity’s with this ad, which in their defense will double their sales.

That ad is psychotic.

If anyone is interested, here are five YouTube videos that are part of the above Clarity marketing campaign:






Please, enough of floating heads … And that forced smiles.

Here’s some more floating heads for you. Little Caesars did it first.
(RIP Mr. I)

File it under: what were they thinking?

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar but singing, floating, disembodied heads of children, is always creepy, macabre, and indicative of a disturbed personality.

The fixation of FCVs by the traditional car makers must have some rational basis.

I don’t buy that it’s a “big oil” conspiracy because in the end the car makers serve their own interest…not big oil’s.

It can’t be that they are against electric cars…A FCV is basically an electric car with a smaller battery plus a hydrogen fuel cell.

It’s a wonderment that I have not yet heard an explanation that makes any sense to me. As as big a mystery as why they would put out that very creepy floating head commercial.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if oil companies where at least partly footing the bill for the FCEV development. After all they are the ones that are expected to sell the hydrogen and they make it from oil, so it’s a great way to greenwash their product.
Oil companies have made significant investments in hydrogen, they will be expecting a payoff from that investment.

@J P DeCaen said: “…the power of ego is not to be underestimated…”

That must be the answer. Huge legacy investment in hydrogen fuel cell with ego that goes along with that.They need to shoot that dog investment in the head and clear the deck for BEV.

There is no big mystery. The cause is the mind-boggling level of subsidies that fool cell cars get in Japan. The carbon credits they get in California and other CARB States are almost insignificant by comparison.

See InsideEVs’ article “Japanese Government To Offer $20,000 Subsidy On Fuel Cell Vehicle Purchases”:

FCEV’s would be great if they were practical and affordable, but I believe that BEV enthusiasts see them as a dangerous distraction from building up the infrastructure and further developing the cars and production facilities for BEV’s. From Honda’s point of view, they won’t give up trying to save face from the embarrassment of having bet on the wrong technology until it’s absolutely clear that they’re beating a dead horse. This should have happened some time ago, but the power of ego is not to be underestimated.

Jay said:
“. . . singing who knows what (Honda states they are “singing hydrogen molecules”). . .”

Jay, where the heck were you in 1977? Were you listening to disco and practicing your Saturday Night Fever Dance moves to the Bee-Gees?

That song that they’re singing is none other than Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac from the Rumors album, one of the best selling albums of all time. IIRC, it was also Bill Clinton’s official campaign song when he was running for President back in the day. 😀


Hydrogen Fool Cells are the biggest waste of energy – physical and environmental as well as mental and psychological – and time and money of modern time.

Truth is the kids have to be corralled, put in chains and imprisoned in a SuperMax facility (reinforced carbon fiber tanks) but some escape anyway…

And are those “electrons” orbiting the kids’ heads?

We already have an electron pipeline network… the grid!

Helpful Honda Hydrogen Heads! Hope Honda hydrogen histaria happily is history!

Alrighty then /


This is what happens when you are asked to promote a product which doesn’t have a rational argument for owning it.

Fool cells, indeed.

The next commercial will include puppies.

Dude, you just won the Internet for today!

They are angels blown to pieces by a hydrogen leak explosion

LOL! That’s just cruel! Funny, but cruel!

There goes another classic rock song, innocently slaughtered by morons in marketing. So sorry, Fleetwood Mac!

Hey Jay, when you reference an all electric Clarity above, do you mean a BEV variant?

I drove the clarity at the Honda event today. Nice car, drives like a Honda. Didn’t see any of these heads around though. The marketing pitch was very good but had some whopper facts left out.

For instance, the tech guy was making the argument that the car was better than a BEV because the hydrogen tank weighs less than a battery. I asked him how much the fuel cell assembly weighed. He didn’t know. I didn’t press him, because why? That wasn’t the only technically deficient answer, but their main marketing push was, “you can’t tell this is different from an ICE car”. That approach worked so well for the original Volt!

Overall, I like the car and the deal is great, and the car meets my needs better than the Mirai, but BEV is much better in every way for me.

The fact is it weight a lot and doesn’t have the power to move it up quickly.

Mirai curb weight, 4 078 pounds, 4 occupants.

FCX Clarity curb weight, 3 582 pounds, 4 occupants.

Bolt curb weight, 3 580 pounds, 4(5) occupants

Tesla S 85D curb weight, 4 647 pounds 5(7) occupants.

But you have to figure the cargo space availaible and performance of each to claim any weight advantage one might have.

3582 is is old FCX clarity. New one (2017 Clarity) is 4134 lbs. One has to wonder why the F it weighs so much since FC is listed as only 114 lb.

Can you actually buy/own the Clarity FCV? Price?

Won’t someone think of the children?!?

Honda you suck.

Thanks for the Latest Leaf 2.0 spy shots! Interesting indeed.

The IDS concept is not bad, final design is.
Why do they always have to turn concepts ugly for mass production ?

I don’t know what Leaf has to do with Clarity. How about this? SparkEV is world’s most efficient car!

The Spark EV has been snuffed out by the Bolt! The Spark is an EV for The History Books, and used efficient car lots. Game Over for the Spark and its efficiency.

That doesn’t change the fact that it is the most efficient car in history, even today. None of the FCEV will come anywhere close if they use electrolysis.

Oh dear. First, having a background in physics, I instantly recognized that the heads are hydrogen atoms (NOT MOLECULES as incorrectly stated in the related commercials) but I’m sure for 99% of the public the electron resembles some sort of angelic halo. Second, I was surprised to see them coagulate into water at the end. Are there parent heads which are the oxygen? But, I get that Honda wants to sell the hydrogen aspect as a novel feature. Really, the only way to do that is by showing water dripping from the tail pipe, and equivalents thereof. People have no direct experience with hydrogen, other than hearing the name. There was a recent commercial where the drips are watering a flower, that’s cute. However, as we learned from the early Leaf polar bear marketing, selling environmental benefits isn’t a sustainable marketing strategy. There are three other marketing handles available: 1) They’re cheap to run. I know the H2 is free for now in California. What will it ultimately cost in our hypothetical hydrogen future, compared to 3 cents/mile which is my figure of merit for my current Kia Soul EV today, or 12 cents/mile in a 30mpg gas car. 2)… Read more »

Water drips from the tailpipes of ICE cars also – you can see it all the time. H2O is a byproduct of the combustion of hydrocarbons.

So now they just need to build a duplicative, expensive and complex fueling infrastructure. Maybe the auto manufacturers will step up, like Tesla does! Well, at least if that doesn’t work out, the cars are only leased. I HOPE they’re only leased! It would be a shame to have a car that touts the ‘clean cred’ of a BEV and the utility of an ICE car, but wind up comparable to neither!

Being tethered to a fueling station would be akin to being all dressed up but not be able to go anywhere!

Those poor little heads! Repeatedly ripped apart and slammed back together! Just so Mr bigshot fuel cell can pretend to be a battery! They should just be a real battery, that way they get to sit still and let the little electrons do all the hard stuff. Far fewer concussions and much more efficient!

I am in the camp convinced that “fool cells” is the more accurate description of this particular propulsion technology (even though fuel cells of course is NOT really a propulsion technology! we do use this, in context, as shorthand for FCEVs). So I would very likely find any ad for the Clarity idiotic… That said, I think InsideEVs reasoning here is incredibly weak. Yes, manufacturers should advertise green cars much more like any other cars they sell, pointing out all the benefits of the specific product that are directly relevant to the buyer. However, I happen to think that how green a car is is ALSO very relevant to the buyer. While regulators should care the most about this, and make sure that it is attractive for people to make individual choices that are optimal for society at large, there are plenty of consumers that also care about the big picture. For myself, although I enjoy the instant torque and the incredibly low fuel costs, there is no doubt I would regret having bought a LEAF if not for the fact that I drive exclusively on hydropower. This is in fact the only real consolation I get to compensate for… Read more »

Well, I guess here I would agree to disagree with my online friend SVEN.

Poisoned by the confiscatory rates of Consolidated Edison Company, I’m sure he longs for the admittedly CHEAPER H2 fueling infrastructure. My issue with that is I don’t want the ‘Standard Comparison’ to be the way or expense of everything in Manhattan. My town would be the first to implement their, and Yonkers’ Income Tax.

(Anything, anywhere is cheaper than ConEd, except perhaps Southern California Edison).

And, of course the California State can FORCE H2 vehicles to work by forcing it down people’s throats, except to date there has not been evident any huge public clamoring for H2 vehicles – but there are more than a few ev’s sold across the country.

Besides this commercial, and the Hydrogen Mirai resusitating a flower with its water, of course, the REAL TRUTH is that commercial greenhouses pipe in Carbon Dioxide, if they want to robustify their ‘charges’.

FCEVs are several years behind BEVs, so it is not reasonable to compare the two technologies as being on par because that fails to recognize that FCEV technology is at an even more nascent state than is BEV.

furthermore, FCEV sales have tripled in the past year and are at about the level that BEVs were 8 or 9 years ago. i don’t know that hydrogen will ever be as inexpensive as electricity, but it really doesn’t have to be so. the “king of the hill” when it comes to automotive technology right now is the ICEV, and at present, hydrogen cost per mile is on par with that of gasoline.

i don’t know the future evolution of zero-emission automotive technology, nobody does really; and so much of it will be determined by what the non-EV enthusiast market wants. but i see no basis for declaring FCEV as being DOA.

No comment:

Can’t be DOA with everyone from the Governator to Gov Moonbeam to CARB enthusiastically subsidizing the infrastructure..

I don’t think you can extend California’s taxpayer funded largess to poorer areas of the country, however. A’int gonna be anything near me for a LOOOOONG time.

SDGE (San Diego gas and electric) is more expensive than SCE. But from Sven’s description, ConEdison is even worse than SDGE.

long time fit ev driver

Honda is shooting themselves. They are ignoring their loyal AFV customers. There might be an artificial shortage of Clarity FCVs, but Toyota makes a fine vehicle.

I wonder why they are doing any commercial at all. With only 200 cars this year and all of them have been grabbed up already, why create a demand for something that you will have to tell people to wait until next year?