Over the past three or four years, Honda must rank as one of the most improved and best run brands here in the UK. The old image of a Honda driver as a staid older person has not totally disappeared but has been adapted to a message of reasoned excellence that complements the historical positioning of reliability.
This campaign apparently launched earlier in the year and whilst the TV commercial passed me by, the associated online campaign really caught my attention (see http://www.honda.co.uk/hondaMentalism/index.html). This site represents a lovely piece of creative online communication and will no doubt win some awards. However there is a bigger question here. Do Honda believe that they have done enough to reestablish their brand in order to rely on online and direct mail for the majority of their communications budgets?
My belief is that Honda are now spending far less on ATL activities and have shifted money to these below the line activities to build on the engagement that they hope to have generated with the brand. The logic behind this appears sound but what is yet to be seen is whether small levels of mass communication can keep the customer pipeline full.
To round off, many people argue that one sign of truly great communication comes when other brands copy your style - i.e. the parody. Would any brand have tried to copy a Honda commercial back in the mid 1990's? Oh - wait. Both Honda and 118118 (the Number) had Naked as their strategic media agency at the time....do you think this was also a stunt?