Honda, Owners Get Face Time

Honda, Owners Get Face Time
February 23, 2004
Matching Hondas to individuals' faces is amusing and memorable -- but is the interactive element a missed opportunity?
Creative Notes

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Campaign Details
Client: Honda
Creative Agency: Rubin Postaer and Associates
Technology Vendor: Unicast
Campaign Insight

"When Unicast approached us with the opportunity to participate in the beta test for their new video unit, we thought it would be a perfect fit for Honda’s brand campaign. The goal of the campaign was to increase awareness of the diversity in Honda’s product lineup. Fortunately, we had a television spot that lent itself to an integrated marketing effort and the right creative talent to give it life. The result was a marketing plan that began with a television spot online and ended with a microsite where consumers could interact with the Honda brand in an entertaining way over a period of time.

"It was important that the Internet viewing experience be comparable to television, which the new Unicast product promised to deliver. We were also drawn to the efficiency of the program and the opportunity to be the first and only automotive advertiser during the beta period. From a list of participating sites, we chose about a dozen that had the highest composition and reach of our target audience. They were all highly trafficked sites within categories such as portals, sports, weather and news.  We flighted the campaign to run in conjunction with Honda’s on-air activity.
--Meridee Alter, VP, Media Director, Rubin Postaer and Associates
--Edmund Purcell, Management Supervisor, Rubin Postaer and Associates

"We could not be more pleased to have Honda and its long-time marketing partner, RPA, among the first to run our new format, the Video Commercial. Their campaign takes great advantage of their offline [television] assets and reaps added benefits from the interactivity within the online ad.  Also, because the Video Commercial is broadcast [vs. broadband] quality, both Honda and RPA can rest assured that all of their target consumers will, for the first time, have the same quality experience across both media. Finally, by extending their creative reach to a prime online audience, they have the ability to track consumer exposure, involvement and response -- something impossible with television. We congratulate RPA and Honda and are excited to see future Video Commercials from this dynamic team.
--Allie Savarino, Senior Vice President, Unicast


Editor's Note
Creative Showcase is meant to be a teaching tool and an inspiration for our readers. We comment only on creative that we really love. Our panelists discuss what makes it great, but if they feel there were missed opportunities that would have made it better, we invite them to mention those. And finally, we seek out a wide range of opinions that reflect the marketplace for the panel, in order to provide constructive, useable feedback for agencies, clients and others involved in these creative pieces.
The Panel

"I love the concept of personalizing the cars and identifying each model with an individual. It's very effective at making a correlation between the brand and the individual consumer rather than a broad demographic. The audio was also effective at creating a mood around the ad unit, and it was simple enough to stand out amongst the clutter of the online ad environment. The submit and rate features of the ad attempt to add a viral element to the unit, though I think there could have been more done with them.  This is a very effective branding unit."
--Cory Treffiletti, VP Media & Client Services, Carat Interactive

"We once pondered whether TV ads that are migrated online need to be interactive. However, I think we're beginning to see more and more of 'interactivity around' as opposed to 'interactivity within.'

"The result of this campaign is a particularly engaging 30-second spot for Honda which is turbo-charged with the ability to inject an 'are you hot or not? layer of involvement on top of it.

"Whether you believe TV ads belong online or not, I think it's worth giving props to the way this one was migrated and evolved. I'd love to see the stats on the length of time spent on this creative solution. Any volunteers?"
--Joseph Jaffe, Editor-at-Large

"This online commercial has many things going for it: synergy with the offline work; strong visual imagery and larger size; interactivity on two fronts; and opt in opportunities for a newsletter with additional information.  So why didn't it work for me? 

"First, it was too much like the offline work -- it had no distinctive on-line visuals or features.  Second, the submit your own picture and rate the picture options got lost in the creative, with poor visual representations beneath the ad.  And third, once you did find these options and used them, you'll find the picture quality on the rate feature was very poor, and the activity ran way too long.

"Close, but no cigar.
--Neil Perry, Marketing Consultant

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