Honda Looks To Nab Gamers

Advergaming firm YaYa continues striking deals with large advertisers, on Thursday signing the U.S. unit of Honda Motor Co. to a deal for the development of a branded game for several vehicle models.

American Honda Motor Co. commissioned YaYa to develop “Adventure Race,” an online racing game promoting the 2002 lines of its CR-V, S2000, Civic and Civic Si models.

The game is a race, in which players drive Honda vehicles on streets and off-road courses while picking up items or racing other vehicles.

The advergame concept has been around for a number of years, although the games appear to be growing in popularity, as marketers seek new, low-cost ways of connecting with consumers, gleaning consumer data, and promoting their brand.

Honda’s game, for instance, is meant to reinforce Honda’s current positioning as fun to drive and adventurous. Players must hand over their email and street addresses for access to the game, and the automaker also offers them the opportunity to opt into promotional mailings.

Unlike most action-based advergames, however, “Adventure Race” supports up to three players at once — tapping into the rabid popularity of multi-player PC games like Doom, Quake and Unreal. As a result, the multi-player feature is designed to draw in the key PC gaming demographic of 18- to 39-year-olds, which also happens to be the vehicles’ target market.

“YaYa is delivering to Honda a multi-player gaming experience that engages consumers in a way that brings them so close to the vehicles, they can practically kick the tires,” said Keith Ferrazzi, YaYa’s chief executive officer. “The power of this kind of messaging in the game experience is extremely memorable. It will be effective in helping Honda reach its target demographic.”

Beyond the multi-player gaming features, Honda also plans to encourage Web surfers to play by staging a contest. Players are eligible to win prizes that include a 2002 Honda CR-V, digital cameras, pagers or MP3 players.

The game is accessible at Honda’s CR-V Web site, newcrv.com, though, like many branded games, “Adventure Race” features a viral component that allows players to email the game to others and encourage them to play.

YaYa has previously done automotive advergaming work for Ford Motor Co. — as part of the U.S. automaker’s promotion for its Ford Escape SUV — and DaimlerChrysler, in conjunction with its Dodge brand.

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