Honda, the carmaker whose U.S. sales fell 2.4% to 146,015 vehicles in August from a year earlier, started a campaign on social media channels for its Clarity Electric sedan. The battery-powered, zero-emissions car arrived at select dealerships in California and Oregon last month, MediaPost reported.
Jessica Fini, social media manager for American Honda, told MediaPost its campaign is geo-targeted to areas where the vehicle is sold. Ad agency AOR RPA created 26 unique, 7-second videos for each letter of the alphabet to highlight features of the car and provide tips for environmentally-conscious living. The videos were designed for mobile viewing with vertical content and text overlays.
Honda rolled out the spots over the past few months on its Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube channels. Honda also set up a campaign-specific Instagram account that shows all 26 short videos in one place. The campaign includes a long-form "ABCs of Clarity" video that was released on Friday.
Honda's push for the Clarity Electric shows how brands can develop and deploy ad campaigns that are truly social-first, with mobile-optimized, geo-targeted videos that are focused on quick, catchy and "snackable" content and also partnerships with social influencers. Those creative influencers will share the 7-second videos about the car on their Instagram channels along with Honda's Facebook and Instagram pages, MediaPost said.
These channels are more likely to reach millennials, the generation born from 1980 to 2000 who have been characterized as reluctant car-buyers. With the rise of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, some millennials view buying a car as less of a priority, according to Goldman Sachs. They are more likely to buy a car out of need than a real want, per a report in Automotive News, putting the onus on marketers to get creative in how they brand themselves and engage. Still, the generation is a fast-growing segment among vehicle buyers and will likely make up 40% of the U.S. new-vehicle market in the next three years.
Honda has tried to capitalize on this with other recent marketing efforts. An integrated campaign promoting the Fit Sport model that launched earlier this month is targeted at diverse millennials and leverages comedians, influencers and social media platforms to connect with those consumers.
The 2017 Clarity Electric has about 90 miles of driving range, according to a rating from the Environmental Protection Agency, and is priced to appeal to budget-minded drivers. The all-electric car is only available for lease, not for sale. Honda priced the Clarity Electric at $269 a month with $1,730 down on a three-year lease that takes advantage of federal income-tax credits for electric cars, according to Green Car Reports. The all-electric car may be more a niche product, while a hybrid version coming later this year is likely to be mass produced.