Honda Pilot stages its own SuperB-Owl

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Campaign US

Intricate Twitter campaign features Superb Owl team line-ups, a kiss cam and even a Most Valuable Owl award.

Honda is doing a social-media end run during the Super Bowl with a Twitter campaign about "Superb Owls."

The automaker, along with its advertising agency RPA, Santa Monica, Calif., created a package of 12 "Superb Owl Spotlight" spots that are posting throughout the day, each featuring majestic, glorious—superb—owls to promote the Honda Pilot’s sensory capabilities.

The brand is capitalizing on a social trend that has emerged during recent Super Bowl seasons, of people posting images and short videos of superb owls. Last year, for example,  National Geographic created an alternative, superb-owl, half-time show that it posted on Reddit.

"Safety for Everyone is a larger campaign theme and in thinking about the big game, and that we are not launching anything, we thought it would be a fun way to continue the conversation about safety," said Ed Beadle, senior manager of marketing for Honda.

The dozen spots, running between 12-to-22-seconds, tell a complete story of an owl team from announcing the starting line-up to recognizing, post-game, the Most Valuable Owl.

The videos dig down, including spotlights on species owl/players, such as the burrowing owl, the barn owl and the great grey owl.

RPA and Honda have some fun with stadium jumbotron favorites, such as a spot with an owl kiss cam and a get-loud video with screeching owls.

Tying all the spots together is a bombastic, play-by-play announcer who starts each clip with "Superb Owl Spotlight". The spots started airing during the early morning pregame shows and are continuing through post-game analysis.

"We thought, let’s lean into internet culture, using owls," said Jessica Fini, Honda’s social media manager. "Visually, they really catch your eye. It is a way that people are talking about the big game and we are co-opting conversations."

In previous years, Honda, with U.S. headquarters in Torrance, Calif., has been a Super Bowl broadcast mainstay. An especially memorable spot was 2017’s one for the Honda CR-V that used celebrity yearbook photos.

Creative for the Superb Owl campaign came together in the last couple of weeks, according to Beadle. "The great thing about social is that you have the flexibility," said Beadle. "Some of the big-game type advertising is looking at a full year of prep."

RPA also created a range of GIFs and memes to post during the game that spring off action on the field. In addition to running paid spots on Twitter, the campaign will post to Reddit Superb Owl forums and on Honda’s social accounts.