A New Truck to Love 

We used the Big Game to speak to enthusiasts and generalists alike about the Honda Ridgeline. 

You’re a national brand rolling out a major new product. In the simplest terms, it makes sense to launch it on the largest platform with the widest audience possible. But if your product mainly appeals to a niche segment of that audience, the choice becomes trickier. How do you speak directly to some, knowing you’re being seen and heard by all? By crafting a message that resonates with that audience in ways both wide and deep.

With Honda preparing to relaunch the Ridgeline Pickup Truck later in the year, the day of the Big Game seemed like a great opportunity to build early buzz. And when it came to winning that Sunday’s ad game, we had two jobs to do. We knew that talkability and entertainment value were vital for the mass audience. But we also knew that pickup-truck enthusiasts were a unique group with their own sensibilities, and their own expectations of both trucks and truck advertising.

So we set forth with a not-so-simple brief: to create a piece of advertising that could keep every viewer engaged and make every viewer laugh, smile, or start a conversation, while also connecting with truck enthusiasts about a new entrant in the category.

The answer: a product demonstration in singing sheep’s clothing.

We knew that truck lovers wanted to see what the new model looked like and hear about interesting features. We also knew the rest of the audience couldn’t care less about a product demo. So we honed in on one feature of the new Ridgeline—the unique truck-bed audio—and created a simple story with an unexpected payoff, built around one of the most iconic and recognizable hooks in all of pop music.

“A New Truck to Love” :60

“Converting the Hand-Raisers”

To get people from behind their screens to behind the wheel, we augmented the big TV splash with social videos that extended the story and a digital experience to allow “hand-raisers” to take the next step and sign up for a test drive.

“We respected every eyeball watching.”
—Christian Cocker, SVP/Group Strategic Planning Director, RPA

We crushed our overall campaign goals after only two weeks (and it kept going after that). The lesson? Your product may appeal to a niche audience of core users, but your product’s marketing can still appeal to, and respect the sensibilities of, every human being who might be watching and listening. And when it does, you might find that the niche audience is a little bigger than it was before.

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