Honda bucks mood with a warm, 'Happy' campaign

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Despite trouble in the auto industry, car maker Honda is running its annual “Happy Honda days” campaign to pro­mote holiday car sales.

The integrated campaign, which includes TV, search, radio, banner and an online game, began on November 24 and runs through the end of the year. The campaign was created with Honda's agency of record, RPA, and aims to con­nect to consumers on an emotional level with holiday-related creative. One TV ad features a father and son using their Honda to go to a shelter to feed the home­less, while another stars a couple on a road trip to see family. Banner ads also are running on auto shopping Web sites.

“We just wanted a warmer message that connected the brand emotionally with consumers,” said Greg Smith, SVP and account director at RPA. “These are uncertain times, and we wanted to focus on the core values of the brand.”

The online component of the campaign, at shophonda.com, lets visitors play an instant win game, with prizes including $100 Visa gift cards. For every registrant, Honda will donate $1 to a charity that is aligned with Honda, such as Little League Baseball/Urban Initiative or Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

After a user completes a game, they are offered a Tell-A-Friend option or a Locate-A-Dealer and Request-A-Quote function. This all ties into the TV commercial.

“The call to action at the end of the commercial is to visit Shophonda.com to find out more about financing and lease programs,” Smith said. “People who visit the Shophonda.com site tend to be further down the purchase funnel, as they are actually researching the products.”

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