Acura Holiday Campaign Starring Dr. Phil, Suze Orman and Santa Touts Sensible Luxury

TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 12, 2012 – Acura’s “Season of Reason” campaign continues for a third consecutive year with a comprehensive campaign starring three instantly identifiable personalities: Dr. Phil McGraw, host of the No. 1–rated daytime talk show and author of six bestselling books, Suze Orman, two-time Emmy® Award-winning TV host and bestselling author, as well as the legendary Santa Claus. The campaign, which encourages the purchase of lasting luxury over frivolous holiday items, is the work of rp&, Acura’s long-time agency of record.

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“In challenging economic times, luxury buyers still appreciate the finer things, but they are smarter about their purchase decisions,” said Jeff Conrad, vice president, Acura division sales. “During the holidays, people are traditionally encouraged to live it up and spend—after all, it’s only once a year. With this campaign, we hope to remind people to spend smart and buy what you’re going to value long after the holiday season has passed.”

The spots, shot by Park Pictures Director Alison MacLean, put a bulls-eye on the self-indulgent impulse buys that are a hallmark of holiday culture. Dr. Phil, starring in his first-ever commercial, Suze Orman or Santa screech up in an Acura just in time to stop wild-eyed shoppers from unloading their wallets to take home a new dress, a giant Christmas tree or an animatronic Santa. The intervention continues as the ambassadors usher their students into the car and, during a high-speed ride, talk them out of their unreasonable purchases and remind them to instead opt for the smarter decision. The voice-over spokesman, actor James Spader, then says, “This holiday, listen to the voice of reason. Acura’s Season of Reason sales event.”

“Acura is a luxury brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously,” said rp& ECD John Hage. Dr. Phil and Suze Orman are known for their no-nonsense intervention style. And Santa—he knows if you’ve been naughty or nice. Together, we thought they could be the voices of reason reminding people to spend smarter.”

In each spot, the Acura MDX, TL and ILX act almost like characters, their movements carefully balanced with the dialogue to simultaneously showcase the vehicles’ performance and reinforce the ambassadors’ appeals to reason. The celebrities handled the stunt driving, rather than using a green screen, to produce a more realistic performance and appealing aesthetic.

Spots will air on high-profile network programming such as NFL on CBS as well as on cable and spot TV. Campaign creative will be featured in digital and email marketing, POP kits, display ads and customizable dealer assets, including print, radio and banners. The campaign runs through January 2.




Client: Acura
Spot Titles: “Santa,” “Dress Down,” “Ornamental,”
Air Date: November 12, 2012

Agency: rp&
Exec VP, Executive Creative Director: John Hage
VP, Head of Art: Phillip Squier
Senior Copywriter: Jimbo Embry
Senior Art Director: Josh Gilman
VP, Executive Producer: Jack Epsteen

Production Company: Park Pictures
Director: Alison MacLean
Director of Photography: Michael Fitzmaurice

Visual Effects: Brewster Parsons

Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Carlos Arias

Sound Design: Robot Repair
Music: Elias Arts

“Dress Down” Talent – Suze Orman
“Ornamental” Talent – Dr. Phil
“Santa” Talent – Santa Claus (E. E. Bell)

About Acura:

Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced performance luxury vehicles through a network of 275 dealers within the United States. The Acura lineup features seven distinctive models including the RL luxury performance sedan, the TL performance luxury sedan, the TSX Sport Wagon and sedan, the ILX compact luxury sedan, the RDX luxury crossover SUV, the MDX luxury sport utility vehicle and the ZDX four-door sports coupe.

About rp&:

rp& has been the agency of record for Acura since 2008. Our responsibilities include their national, regional, online and event marketing. We are also a division of RPA, one of the largest independent agencies on the West Coast.

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