Fact Check

Honda 'Middle East' Commercial

Honda commercial advises customers to switch to hybrid cars because it will mean 'less money for terror'?

Published Nov 14, 2009

Claim:   Honda commercial advises customers to switch to hybrid cars because it will mean "less money for terror."


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2009]

I received this purported ad from Honda. I can't believe that Honda would step into the middle of the Arab-Israel conflict like this. Is this a real advertisement?


Origins:   Large companies typically employ a variety of motifs in their advertisements in order to create material that will generate favorable impressions in potential customers: promotions that exhibit, for example, qualities such as humor, patriotism, thrift, altruism, safety, sex appeal, trendiness, etc. Ads based on political issues are often avoided, however, because even though they may appeal to one segment of a potential customer base, they risk offending and alienating other segments — and disgruntled consumers, even if they constitute a small minority of an

audience, often engage in public protests that receive widespread coverage and create bad publicity.

It seems all the more unlikely, then, that a multinational company such as the Honda Motor Co. would create a commercial like the one displayed above, a spot in which a Middle Eastern speaker delivers anti-Israel rhetoric, whipping up a crowd into chanting "Death to Israel!" over and over — all, ostensibly, to promote the virtues of Honda's hybrid automobiles with the tagline: "LESS FUEL. LESS MONEY FOR TERROR. SWITCH TO A HYBRID CAR."

Like some of the other questionable commercials discussed in this section of our web site, the named company had nothing to do with the creation of this ad; it's merely a prank concocted by someone unconnected with Honda. As a representative with Honda's corporate communications department told us about this video:

Honda has recently discovered that a false and misleading video purporting to be an official Honda advertisement has been circulating on the Internet. This misleading and defamatory video illegally and inappropriately uses the Honda trademark and other images to make it appear that Honda is engaged in making political statements regarding the Middle East.

Honda had absolutely nothing to do with the creation or distribution of this fictitious advertisement, and neither sponsored nor approved it.

McCann Erickson, the global advertising agency whose name appears briefly at the beginning of the video clip, has also disclaimed any connection with this faux commercial.

Last updated:   14 November 2009

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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