Civic gets 3rd launch in under 2 years
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 for the third time in 20 months. This time, the campaign's focus is on the company's quest for continuous improvement.
The commercials focus on how Honda improved the Civic for 2013, ignoring the 2012 model's shortcomings.
In April 2011, Honda conducted a traditional launch campaign -- estimated at $100 million -- for the redesigned 2012 Civic. The campaign featured a lumberjack, zombie, ninja, monster and masked Mexican wrestler representing the 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 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which crimped inventories and stalled sales. When supply lines reopened, Honda relaunched the car in late 2011 with a campaign that stressed the Civic's features and benefits.
That time, the car itself was the letdown. Reviews in the mainstream press savaged the Civic, calling its interior cheap and its styling stale.
For the 2013 model, Honda restyled the car's instrument panel, improved its crash structure and gave it new front and rear fascias.
The TV ads include a mix of original footage of inventors, makers and explorers -- such as those who created a laser keyboard and 4moms origami stroller -- aligned with Honda's own engineering innovations, such as the 2013 Civic, Asimo humanoid robot, HondaJet and high-performance racing programs, the automaker said in a release.
The campaign first aired Jan. 1 during the Rose Bowl, and will see heavy rotation in the NFL playoffs, NBA season, Grammy awards, prime-time network and cable, as well as a heavy print and online media buy.
Despite the Civic's shortcomings, it was among the segment leaders in sales once post-tsunami inventories returned to normal levels. The Civic outsold the second-place Toyota Corolla by 26,962 units in 2012 and the third-place Ford Focus by 71,987 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 -- will be reached in the first quarter.
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