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It was 1985, and Lou Reed was no longer walking on the wild side. The rock forebear lent his most popular solo cut and likeness to Honda to plug their scooter line. This one-minute commercial was the result, filmed on the streets of New York City.
Set to the rise-and-fall bass hook, we see blurry, quick cuts of eighties grime, most notably the squeegee men. And, of course, plenty of focus on the “walk/don’t walk” crossing signals of yore.
However, the product itself doesn’t make an entrance until the final scene outside the Bottom Line on West Fourth Street. That’s when Reed quips, “Hey, don’t settle for walking.”
This Honda commercial was apparently the tipping point to success for Wieden + Kennedy, a Portland-based advertising company. Historians agree that it had a sizable impact on the industry, but it didn’t really help sell enough scooters.