"Honda Values" Campaign Urges Car Shoppers to Think Long Term, Beyond the Incentive-Based Marketplace

April 6, 2009

by
RPA

Santa Monica, Calif., April 6, 2009 ? To provide consumers the necessary information to make the smartest decision when purchasing a vehicle, Honda is teaming up with Edmunds.com, the No. 1 auto-shopping site on the Web, to deliver "True Cost to Own® a Honda," data to consumers. The multiplatform campaign strategy developed by RPA, Honda's longstanding agency of record, encourages consumers to compare Honda models to the most cross-shopped competition while calculating the long-term costs of vehicle ownership versus the price tag of a vehicle. The campaign features TV, online and radio.

"Relying on the confidence we have built and continue to build in the Honda brand, this campaign challenges consumers to think beyond just the cost of buying a vehicle and instead to think about what is a better, and more cost-efficient, vehicle to own in the long run," said Christan Miller, manager, Honda Regional Marketing, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "This initiative with Edmunds.com invites consumers to determine for themselves the best vehicle value for their money and to then directs them toward their local Honda dealer."

The online piece of the "Honda Values" campaign taps into and supports consumers’ online behavior. Shoppers are spending more time on the Internet, a tool that offers increasing transparency, as their primary learning source (e.g., products, features/benefits, price comparisons and incentives/offers) prior to the showroom visit. According to the September '08 J.D. Power and Associates Autoshopper.com study:

  • 84% of Honda buyers use the Internet to shop for vehicles
  • 94% of Honda buyers have high-speed Internet access
  • 83% of Honda consumers indicate that the Internet has ?some impact? or ?big impact? on their make/model decision

The campaign encourages consumers to do their own research. The "True Cost to Own® a Honda" pages on Edmunds.com reveal the many factors that build value in a vehicle during a five-year period, including depreciation, financing, insurance taxes, fees, fuel consumption, maintenance and repairs. Data from Edmunds.com provides consumers with numerical evidence to support the campaign's integrity.

"The voice of this campaign is honest and approachable. The goal is to get the attention of auto shoppers while differentiating the communication from competitors promoting a strong discount message," said Gregory J. Smith, SVP, account director at RPA. "The TV ads include a clear call-to-action for consumers to check out the ‘True Cost to Own® a Honda’ comparisons at Edmunds.com and are then tagged with compelling incentives."

This year's "Honda Values" campaign creative will use a telestrator device to bring attention to features, benefits, accolades and overall value message for each of the featured Honda models. Nine TV spots will highlight Accord, Civic, CR-V, Fit, Odyssey and Pilot. Using consistent creative tonality, online and radio advertising will help drive additional traffic to the branded module on the Edmunds.com home page, which directs consumers to the "True Cost to Own® a Honda" pages.

Spots begin to air on April 6 on broadcast, cable and spot TV in top prime-time programs, including Dancing with the Stars, Ugly Betty, Brothers and Sisters, CSI, Amazing Race, 24, The Biggest Loser, Heroes and The Office.

Online advertising on other top auto shopping sites will complement the TV campaign with messages adapted from data available on the "True Cost to Own® a Honda" pages. For example, one CR-V ad reads, "5-star crash-test rating + Excellent fuel economy [27 mpg] = Low cost of ownership." All ads end consistently with "Once you sum it up, it all comes down to Honda." These online ads will direct consumers to shophonda.com.

Further enhancing the campaign, ad placements and spotlights coordinate with the TV schedule to run during select weeks throughout Edmunds.com. Consumers visiting Edmunds.com will be directed to a landing page where they can learn more about "True Cost to Own® a Honda" comparisons by vehicle model. Links to ShopHonda.com and additional shopping tools have been added to the results pages to help facilitate consumer research.

Edmunds® and True Cost to Own® are registered trademarks of Edmunds.com, Inc.

About RPA RPA, headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., is a leading 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's client list includes American Honda, both the Honda and Acura brands, La-Z-Boy, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Pharmavite's SOYJOY and PENTAX Imaging Company, and it is the media planning and buying agency for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Lenox Financial Mortgage and Reily Foods. For more information, visit http://www.rpa.com.