RPA and Honda Initiate Viral, Interactive Campaign to Champion the Honda Element's Famous Friend, Gil the Crab

August 21, 2006


Santa Monica, Calif., August 21, 2006 — Honda's longstanding agency of record, RPA, is extending the "Element and Friends" campaign to continue the brand momentum for the Honda Element. The campaign uses popular Web sites to engage interested consumers with Gil the Crab who was first introduced on www.elementandfriends.com in the fall of 2005.

In July, Gil embraced his celebrity and posted a profile on MySpace (www.myspace.com/crab), and he seeded Element community and enthusiast Web sites with links to his profile. The crab also invited users of the "Element and Friends" Web site to view his profile. In support of the campaign, RPA's search engine marketing (SEM) experts secured "crab" and "I pinch" terms to raise awareness of his MySpace profile. In addition, "I pinch" gear became available on http://www.cafepress.com/ipinch.

Recently, Gil has learned that he will not be in the Honda Element's Model Year 2007 TV spots. He desperately began a petition to get back on the air (www.savethecrab.com), launched his personal blog, produced and posted his own commercials and squats on the "Element and Friends" island. While maintaining personalized e-mail dialogue with his MySpace friends, RPA leveraged search engine marketing again by purchasing "save the crab," furthering his cause to generate public support. Rumors then emerge that The Smoking Gun Web site, famous for getting exclusive, confidential documents, will post a memo detailing the demise of the crab's acting career on August 28.

How will Honda react? What about the crab's friends on the island? Will the crab garner public support? The story will unfold in late September.

RPA/Gil the Crab

Jenny Howell, Manager, Honda Interactive Marketing said, "We wanted to continue the momentum of the Element and Friends campaign, and felt that we could leverage the power of MySpace to accomplish our goals. It provided all of the things we were looking for: the right target, a viral component and tremendous flexibility. It has helped to create a very effective bridge as the campaign heads into its second year. To date, Gil has over 50,000 new friends, and we are very pleased with the campaign's return on investment."

Fiscally efficient, the overall buzz-generating, interactive campaign is designed to bridge the gap between the current and new campaign to debut on September 28. The advertising strategy is to generate excitement about the forthcoming Honda Element all-new trim model and to increase opt-in e-mail users.

RPA's "Element and Friends" advertising campaign was launched in the fall of 2005 and was integrated across television, radio, the Internet and print. The campaign won the inaugural Yahoo! Search Light award, given for the most creative use of paid search in a broader advertising campaign.

About RPA RPA, headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., is the largest independent advertising agency based on the West Coast, with more than $1 billion in billings. RPA builds momentum for brands by offering its clients truly integrated campaigns that resonate throughout its disciplines, which include traditional advertising, media planning and buying, interactive, direct and event marketing. For more information, visit http://www.rpa.com.