Automotive marketing with a difference – Honda

18th February 2014

When talking about the world of automotive marketing it is hard to ignore Honda, a brand which I have taken huge pleasure in following over the years.

Alternative automotive ads

From the ground-breaking ‘Hate something, change something‘ to the more recent ‘Impossible dream‘, Honda have been setting the bar for alternative and ‘out of the norm’ automotive video marketing. This company has chosen to tell their brand story in a much more human and quirky way then other giants of the automotive industry.

So the brand’s virtually non-existent advertising over the last few years has caused me great woe. When pressed, Honda put this down to lack of budget, mostly stemming from the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the recent European recession.

But its campaigns for this year’s Superbowl and its brand new CR-V have certainly put this innovative automotive brand back on our radar.

Superbowl automotive ads

Starting with the Superbowl campaign, Honda created a real conversation-starter on road safety by putting the one and only Mr Bruce Willis centre stage and asking the whole audience to give their loved ones a hug.

This is a truly integrated campaign which doesn’t just start and end with a few high budget A-list celebrity bumpers. Honda started a conversation that ran across the whole Superbowl, on and offline. Bruce congratulated Seattle when they scored:

…and commiserated with the losers

Using #hugfest, Honda invited the viewer into a conversation and took ownership of a share of the Superbowl’s huge potential 112.2 million TV audience.

And then the brand carries its engagement through to its campaign landing page. Honda is pushing its safety image in this campaign and these are consolidated in Bruce Willis’ reminder that you need to look after the ones you love – they’re not crash test dummies. The conversation is integrated into the campaign site with examples of virutal hugs from followers on Twitter and Bruce Willis replying with a hug-meter rating, such as “that redlined my hug-o-meter”.

This is a great example of a strong concept and story used to its fullest potential. By continuing the narrative across multiple channels, Honda turns a marketing message into a conversation between the brand and its followers.

CR-V ads

Honda is also pushing the boundaries with its latest high budget spot for the new CR-V. Playing on what they define as the CR-V’s ability to make the ‘Impossible possible’ (watch out Tom Cruise), the new ad certainly made a lasting impression on me the first time I saw it…

This is apparently the beginning of a new integrated campaign for the CR-V so I’m excited to see the new dimensions they add to the story across other channels. Proving its digital credentials, last week Honda launched a special edition of the CR-V by asking the public whether they prefer the black or white version. The votes will be aggregated from social signal and video views. At the time of writing, the black version is turning more heads but only just with 51% of the votes. We look forward to more head turning campaigns this year…

Chat car marketing with us

What do you think of Honda video marketing campaigns? Which automotive brands are leading the way?

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