Acura Catches Lightning in a Bottle, Quite Literally, in Mullen’s New ILX Spot

Joey Santiago reworks a Pixies song for the soundtrack

An engineer ventures out during a thunderstorm and literally catches lightning in a bottle to power the Acura ILX in this cinematic spot from Mullen.

Johnny Green of Reset Productions—much lauded for his Under Armour ad last year with ballerina Misty Copeland—directed the automaker's 60-second clip, which also features an orchestral reworking of the Pixies' 1988 track "Where Is My Mind" (which pops up quite a bit in ads). In fact, Joey Santiago of the Pixies recorded this version with Acura.

"Innovative performance is a core quality of the Acura brand, and the spot captures that essence in a visually compelling and emotional way," says Acura general manager Mike Accavitti.

Indeed, the music and images are well matched, and Green's storytelling is top notch. Even so, the effect is somewhat less than the sum of its parts. We've got lightning bolts, a zippy car, a stirring soundtrack … yet the spot feels restrained—bottled up, if you will—when it could have been dazzling.

Ah well, this is just the first strike in a broader Acura campaign themed "Catch It If You Can." Perhaps subsequent ads will pack more of a charge.


Brand: Acura

Client: Mike Accavitti, Senior Vice President, General Manager

Client: Ed Beadle, Senior Marketing Manager

Client: Leila Cesario, National Advertising Manager

Car Model: 2016 ILX

Spot Title: "Bottle"

Agency:  Mullen

Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker

Executive Creative Director: Margaret Keene

Creative Director, Art: Paul Foulkes

Creative Director, Writer: Adam Calvert

Senior Art Director: Sean Stell

Writer: Natasha Hugeback

Senior Vice President, Director of Integrated Production: Jon Drawbaugh

Senior Broadcast Producer: Meagen Moore

Content Producer: Elaine Russell

Business Affairs, Music Supervisor: Danica Bates

Managing Director: Cameron McNaughton

Vice President, Account Director: Nicole Neopolitan

Account Supervisor: Courtney Calvert

Account Executive: Kylie Mugg

Product Specialist: Curtis Milward

Production Company: Reset

Director: Johnny Green

Managing Director: Dave Morrison

Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall

Producer: Betsy Oliver

Director of Photography: Paul Cameron

Editorial: RPS

Editor: Damion Clayton

Assistant Editor: Benjamin Cline

Producer: Rebecca Baker

Color Correction, Visual Effects: A52

Colorist: Paul Yacono

Visual Effects Supervisor, Lead Flame Artist: Andy McKenna

Head of Production: Kim Christensen

Executive Producer: Jennifer Sofio Hall

Audio Post: Lime Studio; 740 Sound Design

Mixer: Joel Waters

Original Music: The Pixies, Joey Santiago

Name of Track: "Where Is My Mind"

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.
Publish date: January 20, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT