Honda Motor Co., the car company that sold 1.64 million vehicles in the U.S. last year, launched an ad campaign last week featuring Pompous Albert, a cat famous on Instagram for a fierce stare that's spurred memes across the internet and social media. The campaign is intended to remind Honda owners to have their vehicles maintained at dealerships that provide Honda Genuine Parts and Service, according to a statement by the company.
The campaign features a 36-second video of Pompous Albert and additional cuts that will be featured on Honda social media channels including Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. A variety of gifs and memes will accompany the campaign, which will run through the end of June.
Pompous Albert is a Selkirk Rex breed of cat owned by Mike and Susan Singleton of Salt Lake City who run the frowning feline’s Instagram account, which has about 132,000 followers.
The era of social media has spawned legions of human influencers, so it's not surprising that animals have been added to the mix. Pompous Albert, a cat with a following that’s grown organically online, shows how internet celebrities can be harnessed in a light-hearted ad campaign that’s a fresh take on hawking auto parts.
The campaign is the latest example of Honda's strong commitment to digital, following other recent developments like a multichannel campaign featuring giant battling monsters and a new deal to stream Epix movies in the automaker's vehicles.
A report last month from the influencer marketing firm Mediakix estimates that Instagram commands $1 billion per year in ad spend and that that number could double by 2019. Mediakix forecasts that influencer marketing will be a $5 billion to $10 billion market overall by 2020, as the space continues to ramp up. Thirty-two percent of marketers using influencers view them as essential to strategy, and 41% have seen more success with influencer campaigns than with traditional advertising efforts, according to recent research from Bloglovin. For marketers already invested in the space, 63% said they plan to increase budgets this year.
Instagram's massive share of the influencer economy is helped by both micro-influencers and large celebrities, the latter of which can make up to half a million dollars for a single sponsored post. The platform also frequently attracts some of the highest spending brands, many of them major retailers like Target, H&M and Adidas. Instagram was acquired by Facebook for approximately $1 billion in 2012.