Honda Element Campaign Wins Coveted Yahoo! Big Idea Chair™

November 8, 2006


Santa Monica, Calif., Nov. 8, 2006 — The Honda Element campaign was honored with the Yahoo! Big Idea Chair™ at yesterday's Yahoo! Creative Conference in Los Angeles. Reviewed by a panel of experts and industry executives, the award was presented to RPA, Honda's long-standing agency of record. Seeking to highlight the people, companies and work that truly represents integration in new media, the award is a very large and comfortable purple chair.

Joe Baratelli, Senior V.P., Creative Director, at RPA presented a 30-minute overview of the integrated, multi-media, somewhat quirky, Honda Element campaign which included print, TV, outdoor, interactive and events. Developed in the fall of 2005, the campaign challenged Honda and RPA to introduce the unique attributes of the four-year-old Honda Element. The agency created the "Element and Friends" island (, enabling visitors to drive the vehicle around a digital island while interacting with a crab, platypus, opossum, burro and rabbit, each of which shared a feature with the Element.

Cost-efficient keywords like "funny video," "possum" and "platypus" were targeted, and clever text ads were used to drive traffic to the Web site. At the "Element and Friends" microsite, visitors averaged more than 15 minutes per visit.

In addition, Honda and RPA created a MySpace profile for the Element and sponsored the first-ever wallpaper contest. This drove significant traffic to the "Element and Friends" microsite, where animated spots received more than 150,000 views and nearly 10,000 spots were downloaded and shared among popular video-sharing Web sites.

To build momentum for the Model Year 2007 campaign, an interactive extension of the "Element and Friends" campaign featuring Gil the Crab, the famous Element friend, ran from July through August. Transcending basic MySpace marketing, this campaign played as a serialized story across several popular Web sites where Gil interacted with users rather than talking at them.

During the summer campaign, Gil learned he would not be featured in the new Model Year 2007 Element spots. He arduously labored, as any out-of-work actor would, to get the public's support in order to get his job back. He acquired more than 100,000 MySpace chums in two months (, authored 27 blog entries, received more than 25,000 signatures on his petition (, and squatted on the "Element and Friends" island.

Like celebrities' nightlife foibles, Gil's pinching antics, which are detailed on his blog, attracted attention on The Smoking Gun ( And, related gear was made available on

His connection with users is evidenced by over 1 million total visits to Gil's MySpace profile, with more than 6,500 comments from friends and more than 1 million YouTube video views of various "Element and Friends" videos uploaded by users. Most important, Gil got his job back and his new commercial, which premiered exclusively on MySpace, appears in the mix of TV spots.

In October, more than a dozen new friends debuted on TV, in print and on the "Element and Friends" online island. The quirkiness continues as each critter?a goat, hamster, lobster, mole, pigeon, rat and turtle?share a unique feature with the Element on TV spots. The campaign also introduced the all-new trim model, the SC.

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, interactive, and direct and event marketing. RPA also serves as a media planning and buying agency for clients such as MGM and Zatarain's. For more information, visit