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Honda targets gamers, sports enthusiasts on mobile to drive Fit awareness

American Honda Motor Co. will promote its 2015 subcompact Fit car in advertisements on mobile gaming and sports sites, including a tie-in with video fighting game Ultra Street Fighter IV.

Produced with agencies RPA of Santa Monica, CA and MediaVest, a New York-based unit of Starcom MediaVest Group, the campaign will anchor the new Honda Stage YouTube channel the North American arm of Japan?s Honda Motor Co. announced last week.

The move continues Honda?s effort to build brand awareness and loyalty with the Gen Y generation, who are less interested in vehicles and in consuming traditional media than their baby-boomer parents.

?The programs work in tandem,? said Phil Hruska, American Honda?s manager of media strategy in Torrance, CA. ?The all-new 2015 Fit is a youthful vehicle that fits the demographic of music fans and those who might visit the channel,? he said.

Arcade game
Honda has joined forces with Machinima Inc., a gaming and media streaming website and multi-channel network to promote Ultra Street Fighter IV, a new generation of the Street Fighter arcade game first introduced in the 1980s.

The campaign will integrate the newly redesigned Fit in a series of videos that insert the vehicle into iconic scenes from the Street Fighter franchise, Honda said. The vehicle also will have a role in a vehicle giveaway aimed at engaging the gaming audience.

The campaign?s heart will be television ads starring actor, comedian and musician Nick Thune, supported by digital and social media. It will have a multicultural flavor, featuring drummer Questlove and comedian Felipe Esparza.

The campaign will incorporate a mix of media with placements on network and cable TV, online video, gaming and mobile. The launch of digital activations will continue to ramp up throughout the summer, leading into a larger media push in the fall.

The second phase will kick off with home-page takeovers on Yahoo! and YouTube, along with a presence on primetime, cable TV and a variety of sports programming.

Key area
Mobile is a key area for launching the Fit and will be used to promote Honda?s Civic sedan and the HR-V compact SUV, Hruska said.

YouTube is at the core of the Honda Stage project. The videos will be taken from about 200 live performances at festivals, concert halls and other venues from around the country. Honda said it expects the effort, rolling out in phases, will attract around 2 billion media impressions in 12 months, including millions of views for live-performance videos posted to the Honda Stage.

Honda redesigned the Fit, introduced in 2001, for the third time to increase its power and add room for passengers while maintaining its reputation as a fuel-efficient vehicle and keeping its price basically the same. 

Share of voice

Hruska said ad placement will tap mobile to create Share of Voice in key target consumption areas. Share of Voice is an ad revenue model that optimizes ad exposure by focusing on the relative portion of ad inventory available to a single advertiser within a defined market over a specified time.

?They will be placed on sites and mobile programs that reach our Gen Y audience, including gaming and sports sites,? Mr. Hruska said.

Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York