Honda launches Civic campaign -- again
With a new ad campaign, the 2013 Civic is "poised to beat customers" expectations," says Mike Accavitti, head of national marketing at American Honda.
LOS ANGELES -- Honda Civic launch campaign … take three.
Trying to build momentum behind the midcycle freshening of its core compact car, Honda is launching the Civic with a new advertising campaign for the third time in 20 months. This time, the campaign's focus is on Honda's quest for continuous improvement. The commercials talk about how Honda improved the Civic for 2013, leaving unsaid the shortcomings of the 2012 model.
In April 2011, Honda conducted a traditional launch campaign -- estimated at $100 million -- for the 2012 Civic redesign. The campaign featured a lumberjack, zombie, ninja, monster and masked Mexican wrestler representing the various ways the Civic was a car for everyone, under the tag line, "To Each Their Own."
The campaign landed with a thud. But what really derailed the launch was the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which crimped inventories and stalled sales. When supply lines opened, Honda relaunched the car in late 2011 with a new campaign that discussed the car's features and benefits.
That time, the car itself was the letdown. Reviews in the mainstream press criticized the redesigned car, saying it had a cheap interior and stale styling.
For the 2013 model, Honda hurriedly restyled the Civic's instrument panel, improved its crash structure and gave it new front and rear fascias.
"The TV creative mixes found and original footage of real inventors, makers and explorers like those who created a laser keyboard and 4moms origami stroller aligned with Honda's own engineering innovations such as the 2013 Civic, ASIMO, HondaJet and high-performance racing programs to express their shared passion for creativity and ingenuity," the automaker said today in a statement.
The campaign first aired Tuesday during the Rose Bowl, and will see heavy rotation during the NFL playoffs, NBA season, Grammy awards, prime-time network and cable, as well as a heavy print and online media buy.
Despite its shortcomings, the Civic was among the segment leaders in sales once post-tsunami inventories reached normal levels. Through November, the Civic outsold the second-place Toyota Corolla by 18,523 units and the third-place Ford Focus by 61,473 units.
And while work on this campaign started weeks ago, it is the first campaign shown since Honda announced it was putting its $700 million advertising account up for review after 26 years with RPA. A decision on the account -- which could remain at RPA -- is expected to be reached in the first quarter.
You can reach Mark Rechtin at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Follow Mark on