Honda has launched a fully integrated national advertising campaign starting on Sept. 12, starring actor Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement, Family Guy, Seinfeld) and highlighting the company’s long tradition of earning top industry accolades and recognition for safety, reliability, high quality and exceptional resale value. The extensive brand campaign, developed by Honda’s longstanding agency of record, RPA, features a range of Honda’s vehicles, including the Accord, Civic, Pilot, CR-V, Odyssey and Fit.
The “Good Reasons” campaign features a self-assured Warburton espousing the truth about car buying and advertising in over-the-top discussions ranging from legal disclaimers to whether sex can help sell cars. He employs a bevy of accolades from the powers-that-be in the automobile-influencer world, including, J.D. Power and Associates, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com, to substantiate Honda’s ability to deliver one of the top vehicle-owning experiences in America.
“In this campaign, we took the values that are core to Honda’s brand image-simple, smart and straightforward-and made them really engaging and fun,” said RPA SVP/GCD Jason Sperling. “We created a layer of honesty that isn’t seen from most car manufacturers. And we show Honda’s many strengths in a way that cuts through the clichés and usual tactics and feels incredibly fresh.”
The TV campaign will launch during high-traffic programming with a pair of 60-second spots, including “Disclaimers,” which is representative of both the campaign’s quirky ambassador and its overarching message. To make a point about how advertisers attempt to hide things in legal lines, Warburton declares himself the “best TV spokesman ever,” as a slim disclaimer along the bottom of the screen reads, “Based on a study of one individual’s opinion. Me.” He then talks about a much more conclusive J.D. Power and Associates study where Honda received the awards for “Highest Ranked in Initial Quality: Sub-Compact Car, Compact Car, Compact Crossover/SUV, Midsize Car, Midsize Crossover/SUV, Midsize Pickup”*—more than any other automaker, a disclaimer Warburton goes through with a fine-tooth comb.
A series of 30-second spots, including “Denier,” “83” and “Pay Attention,” follow the same themes of quality and levity with Warburton alternately cajoling, teasing and educating the viewer into carefully considering Honda vehicles.
At goodreasons.shophonda.com, Warburton leads users through six online tutorials summarizing Honda’s core strengths while directing them to online shopping tools, vehicle information and dealer locations. In one video, “Competitive,” Warburton references the ridiculous lengths some car companies are going to by offering a “… billion-mile, swear-on-their-mother’s-grave, this-isn’t-a-piece-of-junk worry-free agreement: a thick stack of paper filled with tiny little elf-lawyer writing that you probably wouldn’t read. Even if you could.” He then talks about making a good car-buying decision and points to actual media coverage detailing Honda’s value and built-to-last attributes.
“Since 86 percent of our buyers go online as part of the vehicle-shopping process (according to Strategic Vision’s new-vehicle buyer survey), these humorous online videos and the overall campaign will connect with existing and potential car shoppers and candidly shows how Honda is viewed through the lens of trusted top voices in the auto industry,” said Jenny Howell, manager of Honda Regional Marketing for American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
On Honda’s Facebook page, users can have fun with the sex sells-themed Civic “Pay Attention” TV spot by watching several alternate endings, ranging from goofy to racy. Users can then vote on their favorite alternate ending; the ending with the most votes will be featured on TV in October. Also on Facebook, users can earn a “Stellar Comment Award” from Warburton. Every so often a commenter on one of Honda’s Facebook pages will receive the shout-out award via a Honda Facebook post.
In early October, a YouTube homepage takeover featuring Warburton parodying the 15 million-hit eHarmony video of an overly emotional cat lover will drive users to goodreasons.shophonda.com, where they will join the more than eight million monthly visitors to the shopping site.