Honda Nails Viral Advertising in the UK with Live Skydiving Spectacular (Well, Sort Of)

May 30, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Advertising, Social Media

Last night, Honda was the first to air a live ad on Channel 4 in the UK.  The ad was nothing short of spectacular – a skydiving feat that no doubt left most of Britain and some of the rest of us talking: Honda Skydiving Video.

I woke up this morning to see links to the YouTube footage of the ad all over the Twitter feeds I follow and in email exchanges between my friends.  Honda’s agency, Widen + Kennedy (which is also an agency for Proctor & Gamble, Coca Cola, Nike, Nokia, Visa, Target, Heineken, and many other large brands) talks about how they executed this socially successful viral campaign on its blog and documented the process of creating the ad in the Difficult is Worth Doing blog.

There’s no doubt that the TV ad itself is spectacular and raises the profile/ brand awareness of Honda.  My only criticism of the TV spot (at least how I saw it on YouTube) is that by the end, I still had no idea what the Honda Accord (which the ad supposed to be pushing) looks like or what makes it amazing.  And, I wasn’t left with the desire to find out.  I was, however, tempted to try skydiving – that is until I remembered seeing this.  Sure, the online campaign that ran on the internet in the weeks before the live TV spot (i.e. the Difficult is Worth Doing blog, etc.) does feature a story or two about the Honda Accord and a small amount of footage showing the Accord racing through the desert, but the impression I was left with at the end of looking at both the blog and the TV ad was of skydivers, not of the Accord.  If the objective of the TV and online campaign was to get people talking about Honda, they nailed it, and proved that “difficult is worth doing”.  If the objective was to get people rushing to the dealership to buy the Accord, I think the ad campaign fell a little short.
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  • I suppose it does reverse the perception somewhat that Hondas are driven by old people (a perception the brand has in many places outside Japan and North America), but you are right—it helps the brand but not the new Accord.






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