The Honda Jazz: better known around these parts for maintaining a steady 42mph on your favourite B-road, occasionally straddling the centre white line. Think of the Jazz and you think of reliability and dependability, but not jazz funk.
Back in the early 80s, things were different. Honda launched the first generation City in 1981 – a car that was exported to Europe as the Jazz. Seemingly Opel threw its toys of out of the perambulator, claiming it owned the rights to the City name, having used it on an earlier version of the Kadett.
Frankly, the Jazz wasn’t a hit in the city. Europe was still coming to terms with the influx of cars from the Far East and the Jazz was too expensive to lure European drivers out of their Opels, Fords and Fiats. All of which means, in Europe at least, the original Honda Jazz is largely forgotten. But its legacy is one of the most bizarre adverts of all time.
If you thought ze Germans were without ze sense of humour, you might want to think again. Grab your bratwurst and enjoy this feast for the eyes (and ears).
Apologies in advance if this annoyingly catchy tune stays in your head for the entire day. Please send all complaints to PetrolBlog, PO Box 306, etc, etc.
Unless you’re fluent in Jazz German, you’ll have to fill in some of the gaps. But it goes something like “mumble, mumble, Honda Jazz, Honda Jazz, Honda Jazz”. Watch it again; it will be ingrained in your mind for eternity.
The message is clear: the Honda Jazz was a versatile little thing. Enough headroom for a basketball player (but not his four mates); great for taking the kinder to tennis and fußball practice; frugal enough to send a petrol station to sleep; and funky enough to encourage pedestrians into spontaneous routines that wouldn’t look out of place in Flashdance. No doubt Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson were inspired by this ‘classic’ German ad.
It’s worth noting that, in Germany, charging at folk stood on a zebra crossing doesn’t result in a fit of rage or a video being sent to the Daily Mail. Instead, people grab their best jazz hands and dance merrily around the car. Look out for an appearance from what appears to be the lovechild of Julian Lennon and Roger Daltery.
Out of interest: does the narrator say “by hateful Honda”, right at the end? Lost in translation? Probably.