- Honda started its annual Happy Honda Days sales event with a campaign featuring Dr. Seuss' The Grinch, according to a statement shared with Mobile Marketer. Honda partnered with Universal Pictures on the #GrinchTakeover campaign, which rolls out a week after the Nov. 9 release of the animated feature "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch."
- The campaign features a takeover of Honda's Twitter account by The Grinch character, who hacked the account at 9 am on Nov. 19 and started sharing his signature unhappy and unmerry comments. The Grinch is also appearing on Honda's Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube channels to spread the word about the Twitter takeover.
- Honda aired a TV spot during Sunday football games showing the animated character taking over a Honda dealership and announcing the arrival of UnHappy Honda Days. The campaign will continue with segments on NBC’s "Today" show on Nov. 20 and E!’s Snapchat show, "The Rundown," on Nov. 19 and Nov. 21.
Honda's "UnHappy Holiday Days" campaign is the latest example this year of how the marketer is doubling down on social media as it looks to drive earned media at a time when more car buyers are researching their purchases online. The effort also points to how marketers can carry over a theme from a TV ad to digital platforms while creating an experience that better addresses online usage. In the Honda campaign, The Grinch's signature grumpy style is on full display across social media in GIFs and other shareable content that is likely to reach younger adults who watch less TV than older generations and are active on Twitter.
Nostalgia has been a common theme among Honda's holiday campaigns for several years and The Grinch is a natural fit as a Dr. Seuss character who has been popular with children for generations. "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch" was the top box-office draw on its premiere weekend, grossing $66 million in the United States, according to Box Office Mojo. This year's #GrinchTakeover campaign arrives a week after "Happy Honda Days 2.0," which echoed a 2014 series of Honda commercials that featured popular toys from the 1970s, 80s and 90s such as GI Joe, Skeletor, the Magic Eight-Ball and Strawberry Shortcake. This year, Honda's ads feature appearances by the Care Bears, Six-Million-Dollar Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Voltron, according to CarBuzz.
Honda has been especially active on social media this year, such as for its Summer Spectacular Event campaign that riffed on memes and animated GIFs. The carmaker also touted its role in motorsports and ran an influencer initiative aimed at millennial car buyers. The "Shifting Gears" event hosted more than 50 media and social influencers to highlight the number of car models Honda makes with a manual gearshift. The carmaker also released another April Fools' Day promotion, this time with a commercial that promoted a humorous fictional app.