Case Study: Everybody Knows Somebody Who Loves A Honda

n107926874274_8150AdAge and MediaPost report: In August, Honda quietly launched an official Facebook page, themed “Everybody Knows Somebody Who Loves a Honda,” to recruit fans of the brand. Owners are encouraged to join as overall Honda fans as well as fans of a specific model, and to learn how they are connected to friends, family members and other owners around the world. Visitors can upload photos of their cars or link up to owners of their favorite old Honda.

Honda initially supported the site with a sprinkling of ads on Facebook. “It wasn’t a big media buy, but it got a lot of attention,” said Tom Peyton, senior manager-national advertising. Earlier this month, TV was added to the mix, with 15- and 30-second spots featuring actual owners. The commercials were created by Honda’s longtime agency, independent RPA, Santa Monica, which developed the concept. The buy, also handled by RPA, encompasses prime-time programming such as “30 Rock,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Dancing With the Stars” and NFL football.

everybodylobeshonda

hondafansThe campaign got a huge boost after a one-day targeted homepage takeover Oct. 19 on high-reach sites, including ESPN.com, CNN.com and SportsYahoo.com. It helped more than double the number of Honda’s Facebook fans the one-day takeover Oct. 19 more than doubled the number of fans (fron 63,083 and since then has grown).

Honda isn’t using the exercise as a way to expand its database of prospects. “We aren’t collecting names and e-mails, and we are not going to hound these people,” Mr. Peyton said. “We are learning, like everyone else, what we are permitted to do with these kinds of things.”

Joe Baratelli, SVP and creative director, and Jeff Moohr, management supervisor, both at RPA add : “It really is an awareness campaign on a limited budget.” “It’s also illustrating that Honda can be successful at a two-way dialogue. [Honda] was reticent about that kind of dialogue. You open yourself up; it’s risky, but with the success of Fit and Insight with Facebook, they were able to see the advantage.”

Moohr says the goal is not about feeding offers or using Facebook to do CRM. “It’s about outreach and building community, or ‘tribes’.”

The recently-launched second phase of the program is an app developed with Facebook that shows an exploded, interactive view of each person’s web of contacts. Baratelli says the next phase will involve new apps using fan stats. “And we will keep doing ads, mostly online,” he says.

But the key will be to let the site’s members do what they will without Honda adding offers, ads, or one-to-one marketing. Honda will be doing much more of this kind of work going forward. “It’s always gong to be part of the mix from this point on,” says Baratelli, “whether it starts out as the center of the campaign or not.”

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