Since the emergence of the micro-video format (Vine and now Instagram Video) over the past few months, marketers and brands alike have been experimenting with how this new medium fits into their overall marketing strategies. There have been some great attempts at showcasing brands, products and services (Oreo and Microsoft as examples). To date however nothing has quite hit the mark like Honda’s #wantnewcar.
On Monday last week, Honda launched their social campaign, intended to create a buzz around their US based summer clearances . The campaign encouraged fans to Tweet in about their old ‘bangers’ or horrible commute with the hashtag #wantnewcar. Attempting to reply in as close to real time as possible, most replies came at most within a matter of hours from the Honda production team. The Vine crew, working out of a Californian dealership and adorned in traditional salesman garb sent personalised video replies to those that responded. Each with their own unique take up on the what the Twitter audience had sent.
While the overall production is simple, low tech and probably low cost in comparison to traditional automotive marketing video, these Vine videos are inherently playful and a great communication piece. Potential customers are interacting with the brand in a way that is overtly satirical with high propensity for viral take up. Honda has stepped away from the traditional broadcast model and added an element of interactivity and involvement making the overall campaign highly engaging. It’s a great way to develop brand champions and to humanise the brand.
— Honda (@Honda) July 16, 2013
While the Honda team decided to lead with the Twitter-Vine combination, they’ve not limited it to just the 6 seconds. Other Tweeters were privy to a personal YouTube based response to questions and woes and a lucky few are even being used to fuel television based commercials.
Given the media exposure and the undoubted long standing brand guidelines, Honda have been brave in opening up to consumer led marketing campaigns although it seems to have worked. While it is still in it’s infancy, it is too early to tell what the actual ROI this has brought back for Honda’s summer sales event, the viral take off has been quite incredible, if nothing else but among the marketing community.
— Honda (@Honda) July 15, 2013
While Honda’s use is not the first foray in to social-micro-video for a big brand, it is certainly the most interactive and playful. With Honda’s departure from big budget marketing, this #wantnewcar campaign shows how social media has levelled the playing field from SME’s to large multi-nationals. Consumers want to be acknowledged by brands and this campaign does that in spades. There is certainly a future for roughly shot, quickly produced personalised video in automotive lead generation whether that be micro-format or otherwise.
Given the recent release of Instagram Video and the well publicised down turn in Vine sign ups, why didn’t Honda go with Instagram Video? Apparently they didn’t know what to do with the extra time… Given Twitter’s recent monetisation efforts, the budgets and potential market involved with Twitter advertising, I’m not so sure.