There are times when being true to who you are flies in the face of a category. Say, when a brand known for smart thinking and a warm sensibility launches a product built for performance in a category marked by aggressive muscle-flexing. Which is exactly what happened when we helped Honda reintroduce the Ridgeline pickup truck.
The pickup truck category is defined by a strict set of conventions, rarely deviated from in marketing: deep, gravelly voice-overs; mud-caked tires; sweeping crane shots of desert bluffs; and anthems to horsepower and towing capacity.
While launching the Ridgeline with another “man"-ifesto about sheer performance might have played to type, there was one problem: that wasn’t what Honda stood for, or how it was known for marketing to people. And advertisers should never forget that people can smell inauthentic posturing and pandering from miles away.
So instead of abiding by category truths, we embraced brand truths — like smart thinking and innovative features designed to improve the driving experience.
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And instead of celebrating one specific kind of truck owner, we celebrated the many diverse types of people for whom a smarter pickup truck makes sense.
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It’s not always an easy thing to be an outlier in your category, or to make the decision to fly in the face of marketing conventions. But in our experience, when you embrace who you are, you’re successful.