Honda Civic Tour Delves Into Social Media

An interactive marketing campaign developed by RPA and produced by Buzznet is bringing social networking to the annual Honda Civic Tour. For the ongoing tour, its seventh, the automaker joined with — an online social network where bands interact with fans — to build a community centered on the tour’s headliner, Fall Out Boy, an alternative rock/pop-punk band from Chicago.

Friendsorenemies cameras will follow the band members on- and off-stage. The clips will be regularly posted on along with media provided by fans. Other content will include a lip-synching contest and a fan Q&A section.

Fans attending Fall Out Boy shows can later upload photos, video clips and other material and socialize around all the content from each tour date. The site will also help the kids that can’t attend the concerts get a sense of the show and the band’s experiences in general, said Buzznet President and CEO Anthony Batt.. “Kids want to experience content through their peer group,” he said, pointing out that friendsorenemies is significantly different than and other more static sites.

“If you just build a Web site and stick on it a bunch of photos, from a marketing standpoint it’s not going to be as genuine,” said Batt.

Even the question-and-answer page, updated weekly, will be multi-media, allowing fans to watch the musicians answering questions submitted online. Another interactive feature include a Long Song Title Game in which users will be asked to write “excessively long song titles similar to Fall Out Boy’s own song titles.”

“We’ve always done some social networking,” said Honda Interactive Marketing senior analyst Ann Palmer. “However, for the Honda Civic Tour, this is a concerted effort to let bands contribute what they see the tour as being and… give more from the inside.”

This content will include backstage videos collected by band members, roadies or people in the entourage. It will “give people a really good, granular feel of what it’s like to be around the band and to be backstage,” said Palmer. “I don’t think you see that a lot. You see that a little bit here and there but this is truly something the fans will generate.”

Blatant advertising for Honda will be kept to a minimum. “We have really seen, with the Honda Civic Tour, that (the fans) are highly aware of who is sponsoring the tour,” said Palmer.

It helps that Fall Out Boy’s members are Honda lovers. One video, currently online, has Fall Out Boy lead singer and guitarist Patrick Vaughn Stump tooling around Hollywood in his Civic Hybrid. “The band is such an advocate of the brand and our hybrid products we really see them marketing our vehicle as much as their own records,” said Palmer. “But the goal is creating the Honda Civic Tour brand. It’s not a hard-sell for the cars.”

The content first went online following the tour’s first date, May 11 in Denver. The site will be updated throughout the tour, said RPA.

“The big win is the kids get to have a sustained online experience with their favorite bands, all brought to you by the Honda Civic Tour,” said Batt. “To my knowledge, there been no major brand and tour that’s combined the sort of content being created from fans with content from bands and had it pushed into one place: a Web site where fans can join, participate and mingle around the content that is being created.”

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