Dave Jamieson – Asst. Vice President, Sales and Marketing
James Marchand – Senior Manager, Honda Sales
Kate Lucek – Advertising Manager
Bob Shanks – Managing Partner, Business
David Crichton – Partner, Creative
Ben Steele – Associate Creative Director
Mike Koe – Associate Creative Director
Rodrigo Diaz Mercado - Junior Art Director
Jonathan King - Copywriter
Michelle Tafler – Group Account Director
Lisa Good – Director, Business
Greg Price – Manager, Business
|Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):||March 2014 – May 2014|
|Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: ||March 2, 2014 – May 18, 2014|
|Base Period as a Benchmark: ||Benchmarking equivalent of 1 year period of March|
Spring is a key selling period for the Canadian automotive category. To shift out of the slow sales months of January and February, manufactures will do whatever they can to warm up the market. This makes it a very competitive period with many tactical sales messages in the market at one time. With manufactures clambering for attention, the challenge was to find a way for Honda to stand out.
During this key-selling period (March, April, & May) our goal was to get Honda onto the consideration set for customers who think Hondas are expensive. With more and more vehicle manufactures using price as their key attractor, it was even more important for Honda to show the value they bring to the table at a price that really is affordable.
With the perception of Honda vehicles being unaffordable, our objective was to target conquest business (primary) and new Honda loyalists (secondary) by demonstrating how easy it is to own a Honda with the flexibility of bi-weekly, semi-monthly and monthly payment options.
There are many customers who’d like to own a Honda, but feel that a Honda is just out of reach financially. This is being reinforced by the competition who are publishing lower and lower lease rates and payments to attract price driven customers. Honda has flexible payment options that will fit these needs, but beyond competitive pricing, Honda brings the value of dependability, quality and reliability (DQR) to the table. The job of the creative was to communicate that innovation and DQR aren’t reserved for luxury vehicles and that owning a Honda is more affordable than you may think.
The Honda brand is about the people behind the wheel, not just the engineering that’s baked into their vehicles. Our goal is to attach every message—even a sales message—to human emotion in order to make a stronger connection. After all, no matter who you are, buying a new car is a special moment in your life. It’s a memory that is created when you drive a new car off the lot, through your neighbourhood and onto the driveway.
We took a unique approach to the Honda Spring Sales Event. The campaign was designed to capture not only the excitement and pride Honda customers feel when driving home a new car, but the response of people around them.
A “jealous neighbour” perspective helped reinforce the quality, reliability and dependability message of the Honda brand, while our new owner’s perspective provided the sense of pride and satisfaction one gets when behind the wheel of a new Honda because they know they made a smart decision to purchase a car that delivers on the dependability, quality and reliability that a Honda is known for. The approach gave us the opportunity to answer the question around affordability “How can he afford a Honda?”.
TV, IAB online units, Facebook, & Twitter
We told the story of Phil driving home his new Honda. It was shot and narrated from the two perspectives - Phil and his neighbour, Steve.
The rivalry between Phil and Steve played out on TV, online and through Honda’s social media channels. Their personalities came alive on Facebook and Twitter through comedic banter and jousting. Online units, including Big Box and Leaderboard placements, mobile units and integration on Honda.ca, were used to further support the campaign with the development of a “Jealous Neighbour Translator”. The creative was paid off with the line, “Make your neighbour jealous for less. It’s easy to afford a Honda.” This was then followed by attractive bi-weekly pricing and financing.
Television – 2 x :30 seconds
Television was purchase and scheduled in a unique way in order for the story of the two neighbours to play-out. Two ads, would air in a commercial break. By book-ending the commercial cluster we were able to create a connection between the ad units. One ad was shot from Phil’s perspective, and the second almost identical ad played out from Steve’s perspective. The two ads worked off of each other to reinforce the message and show both sides of one story, so it was important that they air in close proximity to each other.
The Spring Sales Event did not single-out one vehicle at the lowest price to deliver the smallest lease payment available at Honda. Instead, the campaign was designed to sell the entire family of Honda vehicles by highlighting the flexibility Honda offers with bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly payments.
The campaign drove a higher than average level of engagement on honda.ca. In particular, the all-important ‘Build and Price’ page. The Build and Price page is used by prospective buyers to create a car that fits their needs and wallet. Honda monitors activity on this page as an indicator of interest and as a predictor to future sales, as it is an important step towards purchase of a new car.
During the campaign period, site visitors were 8.5% more likely to build a car than before and after the sales event.
Ultimately, the messaging resonated with a large audience and Honda saw a sharp lift in sales. The bottom line effect was clear. While industry growth in this period was sluggish at 2.2% vs. YA, Honda unit sales were up 14.9% over the same period!
Engagement with the brand was also strong through the campaign. With the social commentary created by Phil and Steve’s rivalry, we were able to generate over 22,000 social impressions with close to 4,500 click-throughs. This is an impressive achievement for un-promoted posts (no paid media support on the social portion of the campaign) for a Sales Event.
By generating awareness of Honda’s flexible payment plans through a creatively engaging advertising campaign, we were able to generate sales for Honda. The campaign clearly wasn’t about “the lowest price wins”, it was about making the car that you really want more easily attainable.
In the end, we were able to connect with our audience by telling a story through the eyes of the people who love the brand. We delivered a sales-driven message in a fun, light-hearted way, ultimately achieving the increase in sales that Honda needed during a key selling period.
Honda’s media spends are confidential due to the competitive nature of the automotive business.
Honda will not heavily discount their cars. This case study demonstrates that flexibility of payment options on quality vehicles can motivate beyond straight ‘lowest price’ tactics.
Distribution remained the same between 2013 and 2014
Unusual Promotional Activity:
Nothing unusual to note.
Other Potential Causes:
Between 2013 and 2014, there were no major disturbances within the market to note.
Honda continues to offer flexible payment options for their vehicles and prides themselves on a high level of service and is continually improving their vehicles. Between the comparison periods, conditions remained true to their consistently high level of service and attention with no shifts.