A 40-year-old Fleetwood Mac song, floating childrens' heads, and hydrogen molecules all kick off the marketing campaign for the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell hydrogen-powered vehicle.

Like most marketing for hydrogen vehicles, the video ad above will likely be targeted only to California drivers.

That state is the sole location today in which a network of a few dozen hydrogen fueling stations exists to let drivers travel long distances.

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Honda announced its new Clarity Fuel Cell marketing effort yesterday. It was quickly followed by a handful of headlines suggesting that the floating childrens' heads were creepy.

On second viewing, the white lines zipping around their disembodied heads were obviously a nod to the single electron zipping around a hydrogen atom.

Even if that atom had to be intuited from the floating head of a telegenic young child, perhaps in spectacles, the ad created a "musical atomic galaxy" through special effects, Honda said.

First 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell customers, Torrance, California

First 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell customers, Torrance, California

Unless you're a dedicated Fleetwood Mac fan, you may not have recognized the song from the first half of the 60-second ad.

Then the familiar tune kicks in for just long enough to establish the theme—"Thinking About Tomorrow"—with lines that will likely be familiar to many in the target buyer group.

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"It'll soon be here, better than before ... yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone." 

Then it fades to the announcer. "Powered by hydrogen molecules," he intones. "And the only emission is pure water."

2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

The ad, according to a Honda press release, was inspired by company's "Blue Skies for our Children" environmental mission, now more than 40 years old.

It's one of six ads that represent "the next step in our effort to advance fuel cell vehicles to the mainstream market," said Steve Center, vice president of Honda's Environmental Business Development Office.

The five other ads educate interested drivers on the more practical aspects of the Clarity Fuel Cell: its 365-mile EPA range rating, its advanced technology, how a fuel cell works, Honda's alternative-fuels history, and how to refuel a hydrogen-powered car.

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Center says, carefully, that they demonstrate Honda's "commitment to growing electrified vehicles into a volume pillar for the Honda brand."

The Clarity will be produced in three versions, all of them indeed "electrified." As well as the hydrogen version, there will be a battery-electric model that also has no tailpipe emissions.

The highest-volume Clarity is expected to be the plug-in hybrid model, which will include a gasoline engine. All three versions will be on sale in various markets by the end of this year.


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