These two commercials are playing at the same time and in the same markets as one another. Given that they use the same style of artwork and advertise the exact same product, that’s not surprising. What is surprising is that the theme of each commercial glaringly contradicts the theme of the other.
In the first commercial what is being highlighted about the Honda Accord Crosstour is the fact that while the car does actually offer an amount of cargo space over and above the regular Accord, it does so in a fairly hard to notice manner. This is what is meant by the phrase “cargo, incognito.” The implication, of course, is that if you buy this car you can still maintain – or, at least, make other think that you maintain – your music-loving, responsibility-free, sport sedan-driving lifestyle, while also secretly being able to handle the added cargo that goes along with having a greater degree of responsibility and less of a night life. This is in direct contrast to what is being highlighted in the second commercial.
In the second one, the Accord Crosstour’s added cargo space – and the resultant difference in design from a regular Accord – is flaunted rather than hidden. Instead of sympathizing with the buyer’s resented, but necessary, additional cargo space, and trying to convince him that it’s actually not very noticable, this second commercial tells him to be proud of it. Aside from conceding that the difference in the Crosstour’s design is noticeable (and thus a contradiction from the assertion made in the first commercial), the way in which the buyer is made to feel proud of it is by likening it to, and in fact making it an example of, his individualistic attitude (anyone who would think this would constitute proof of one is a superficial conformist of the highest order). The phrase “it fits, without fitting in” is what this is supposed to mean.
Now, why would Honda risk making such obviously contradictory claims about the noticability of it’s design changes? In any other culture, two commercials, selling exactly the same product, running within the same time frame, in the same markets – and yet contradicting one another’s claims, would be an embarrasement to the company who’s name is attached to them. But not in this culture. In this culture a company like Honda can get away with such insults to intelligence, and such flagrant “being all things to all people” because people have cynically come to expect such things from major institutions like companies, colleges, and governments. Overworked, spiritually-defeated or frustrated parents, who advise their children to “follow what I say, not what I do.” Multiculturalist professors, who allegedly prepare young minds for adulthood by having them incessantly study ideas which ensure that they’ll be congenital depedants. Politicians, who proclaim that the road to prosperity is more of same type of policies which induced the recession. Even sport stars, who admit to cheating and then expect to be cheered for nevertheless. Why would advertisers be expected to behave any differently?
It is tempting to conclude that people simply cannot notice the contradiction just pointed out, but they do. Instead of being insulted by it, people – if anything – will feel complemented by it. It confirms their view of existence – that of one where senselessness and pretentiousness are omnipresent, and that it’s futile and even “uncool” to resist either one. They will thank and admire Honda for confirming such a thing for them. For giving them their own concrete, automotive expression of it.
In order to sell the Accord Crosstour, Honda certainly hopes so at least.