Using Emotions To Excite Customers: Honda’s Brilliant Holiday Marketing

by Tim James

To promote their brand this holiday season, Honda is pulling out all of the stops by incorporating just about every feeling and sentiment it can into a series of commercials featuring toys. Consider their “Happy Honda Days” commercials that published around Thanksgiving. Every one of them featured a toy covering many demographics – including He-Man & Skeletor, Stretch Armstrong, Strawberry Shortcake, G.I. Joe, Jem and even Little People. These commercials were designed to evoke a feeling of excitement and nostalgia that, they hoped, would then be associated with Honda vehicle — and Honda isn’t afraid to tell consumers that is exactly what they’re up to.

Take a look at this commercial featuring He-Man’s arch enemy, Skeletor, which begins:

Salutations. It’s me Skeletor. Remember the exultation you felt when you got me for the holidays? Well, feel that again with a new Honda CR-V…”

Or this commercial featuring another popular toy from the past, Stretch Armstrong:

Hey, I’m Stretch Armstrong. Remember how pumped you were when you got me for the holidays? You tried to pull my arms off. Didn’t happen. Well, feel that excited again with a new Honda Accord…”

That’s about as in your face as you can get, folks.

Honda’s December holiday campaign features a series of videos titled “Toy Tunes,” which up the ante by adding in popular (and created) holiday songs sung by some of those same nostalgic characters from our past. This is all tied in with a contest that awards several charities $50,000 for the most watched video – the Urban Little League Initiative, the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

Honda’s marketing team has produced clever film and video content for quite some time now, including the Honda “Hands” and “Illusions” commercials that won big in the 2013 Automobile Advertising of the Year Awards, presented at the Detroit Auto Show last January. They know what they’re doing.

Building an emotional connection with your customer – whether that’s excitement, nostalgia, charity or simply a “feel good” type video – creates a connection in the customer’s mind – even if they aren’t aware of it.

So take notes from Honda’s marketing playbook when considering your marketing strategy. Emotions sell — and that’s exactly what you want to do.

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