Honda grooves with Gen Y

The car brand mixes music with the launch of its 2012 Civic to reach a younger demographic.

Honda has decided to break the traditional marketing mould it has cast over the years. For the first time, the car brand is buckling down on convincing Generation Y to take a seat in its 2012 Civic with a five-city music event entitled “Civic Garage Party.”

The move from a mass audience to a more targeted segment of echo-boomers in the age range of 20 to 35 is rooted in the brand’s desire to create conversation around the new car, Jean-Marc Leclerc, VP of marketing, Honda Canada, tells MiC, and who better the spread the word than the digitally plugged-in generation.

“[The Civic] has a very solid, broad-based fan base. However, it became clear to us that, to ensure continued success of the brand moving forward, we must appeal to the next generation of car buyers to become Honda fans,” he says. “Our Garage Parties and the approach we took to promoting the events were designed to resonate with a Gen Y audience and promote conversation about Civic.”

When the new Civic was launched at the start of the summer, Honda produced colourful TV spots and print ads with creative by US-based RPA marked with the new slogan, “To Each Their Own.” The creative introduced the five different versions of the car with the notion that consumers are different and that there is a Civic for each and every one of them.

Honda is looking to create hype around the car using this new theme and is complementing it with promotional event that it believes will connect with the younger demographic, says Leclerc.

“We know we have a lot of core fans in the Gen Y, but we have never specifically targeted them in our communication,” he adds. “And what we want to do is speak with them in a way that we hope will resonate with them.”

The event involves a DJ showdown and music performances by Dragonette and a number of other Canadian artists. Guests will be asked to vote for one of the two competing disk jockeys through text messaging, with the chance to win Honda Civic accessories.

The first city stop will be in Toronto on Friday evening and the brand will continue to make its presence known with stops in Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax and Calgary until Oct. 21.

To notify consumers of the branded occasion, Honda has placed wild postings in the five cities as well as big box and leader board ads on sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Astral’s Before Last Call and Club Vibes websites. The media planning was done by Honda’s agency of record, PHD and the event is the brainchild of Embrace Presents.