Honda Innovator Series Drives Online Conversation

Honda has launched a social media program, the #HondaInnovator Series, to support a TV ad for its 2013 Civic that focuses on inventors and innovation in various fields.

The series incorporates Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube to push conversations about innovation and the car itself, as well as the idea that progress never stops.

In a series of six one-hour tweet chats, users will be able to submit questions to inventors featured in the Civic TV spot, like baby product company 4moms co-founder Henry Thorne, Waterfall Swing inventors Ian Charnas and Drew Ratcliff and 2013 Civic Senior Product Planner Jay Guzowski.

As of Monday, a video of the TV spot on Youtube has about 454,000 views.

Users can also see #HondaInnovator feeds from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Honda says.

“It gives people a chance to speak to individuals through Twitter — to ask questions about why they created [their inventions] and what happened that was the inspiration,” says Alicia Jones, national manager of social media at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “It opens up everyone to engage and ask questions.”

While one of the chats will be with Honda’s Guzowski, the overall intention is to respond to feedback from consumers who are wondering about what they’ve seen in the TV spot.

“We’re giving a forum for all these innovators to chat and answer questions,” Jones says.

In the first two chats, Honda received about 50 questions for Thorne and human flight company Phoenix Fly’s pro wingsuiter James “Macca” MacDonald, Jones adds.

Additional content will include: Facebook posts to introduce fans to the Innovator Series; behind-the-scenes photos from the commercial and an assortment of Civic images on Instagram; and a “Things Can Be Better” board on Pinterest.

In addition, on YouTube, Honda has created a so-called Innovation Playlist featuring additional content tied to the inventors featured in the Civic TV spot.

Honda says its Civic TV campaign ties Honda’s philosophy of innovative thinking and continuous improvement to other inventors working to develop better solutions.

“The company has prided itself on being an innovative company since the beginning,” Jones says. “A lot of thought and development went in to creating the new Civic.”

New “innovative features” in the 2013 Civic include styling, interior upgrades and technology.

“We’re really just trying to allow people to chat with visionaries bringing innovations to life and communicate that Honda is always trying to make things better,” Jones says.

While the Civic’s target audience skews young, Jones says Honda is hoping to capitalize upon the natural curiosity about the featured innovators among other demographics.

Indeed, in a February 1 Facebook post, Honda writes, “We’ve received a lot of great questions about the cool inventions featured in our Honda Civic commercials. So we thought we’d go straight to the sources. Over the next month, we will be presenting our Honda Innovator Series as we bring the visionaries to you to answer your questions via Twitter chats. Stay tuned.”

Promotion will include sponsored posts on the social news site Buzzfeed, promoted tweets, promoted posts on Facebook, YouTube ads and search.

The last chat is scheduled for February 26. Jones says she’d like to continue to use the #HondaInnovator hashtag after the Civic promotion ends, but it remains to be seen how Honda will do that.

After launching on Instagram at the LA Auto Show in December, Honda has about 4,600 followers.

Honda has 6,100 followers on Pinterest. Its #HondaInnovator board has 1,800 followers and seven pins.

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