AUSTIN, Texas -- It's a hot October afternoon at the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, and revelers have found shade anywhere they can: the few trees dotting the park where the event is held; a camp chair from home with a built-in awning; and the Honda HR-V parked on a small stand next to the festival's artist-signing shack.
Honda, as it turns out, also wants to be cool -- cool enough to make an impression on the hundreds of thousands of millennials who pack the park for two weekends every fall. Hence the HR-V on-site and the massive Honda Stage it faces, where popular acts such as The Weeknd, Alabama Shakes and alt-J perform.
Honda's presence in Austin is part of a massive marketing effort that uses music to attract the fleeting attention of millennial car-buyers. The push, which started in June 2014, includes sponsorship of three high-profile music festivals -- Austin City Limits, Governors Ball in New York and Music Midtown in Atlanta. Honda also partners with Live Nation, Sean Combs' REVOLT TV cable network, iHeartRadio, Vevo and YouTube to aggregate videos of its live shows on the Honda Stage YouTube channel.