Dual personalities: Inside the Honda Civic Type R’s brilliant interactive advertisement

(Note: this article’s header media is Honda’s embeddable teaser, click here for full, interaction version)

Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books from the ‘90s?

Well, Honda does, because the U.K. branch’s brilliant ad for the new Civic takes that unique interactive format and applies it to the world of car commercials. The result is absolutely fantastic.

At first glance, the film shows a mild-mannered man picking up his kids in a white Civic hatchback. The air is crisp, the day is new, and the retro sounds of Allah Las’ “Tell Me” play in the background.

Press ‘R’ while watching, however, and everything changes.

The screen cuts to night, where the same enthusiastic father figure is now a hardened criminal, using the wicked, 276-horsepower Civic Type R as a getaway car after a robbery. The screaming 2.0-liter turbo pierces through the silence of the night, and its bright red paint paints a streak through the darkness.

Release the ‘R’ button, and we’re back in Pleasantville. The driver hits the ‘Econ’ switch to maximize fuel economy on the way home. Press ‘R’ again and the fugitive does the same on the Civic, remapping engine torque, increasing steering response, and stiffening the Adaptive Damper System to evade pursuit in a thrilling chase scene.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but nothing is what it seems. Both films were shot in Rijeka, Croatia.

The Type R is the most powerful production Civic ever by a long shot. With the current specs (the official line is still “more then 276 hp”) the Honda produces 36 hp more than the lauded S2000, and just 14 hp less than the last Acura NSX. It’s headed for European showrooms next year.

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