Honda gets extra mileage from videos, downloads

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Honda is launching a promotional campaign that will tie its Civic model to dozens of songs and music videos being released during the fourth quarter by Sony


Starting this week, the auto maker will sponsor the online release of songs and videos from such acts as Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, Dido, Alicia Keys, the Fray and others, by way of a media player that will feature exclusive Honda branding, original 15-second pre-roll ads and interactive buttons directing viewers and listeners to the Honda Web site.

Sony BMG is distributing the branded media player to a network of hundreds of Web sites, including those created by or for many of the artists on its roster, related record labels and numerous fan-based sites. The Sony BMG content is also downloadable to a host of social networking sites and blogs.

The campaign marks the first time that Sony BMG has sold an ad package encompassing all of its new music video releases to a single sponsor via its year-old Web site, Sony BMG Music Box. Neither the client nor Sony would discuss pricing, but sources say Honda is paying between $500,000 and $1 million for the new-release sponsorship.

“Being associated with new music just released is very exciting to us,” says Jenny Howell, manager of interactive marketing at Torrance, Calif.-based American Honda Co. “It helps create the impression that Honda is cutting edge and on the forefront with our youth target.” The core demographic for the Civic is adults aged 18-34.

The tie-in with Sony BMG is part of Honda’s broader ad campaign to promote the 2008 Civic models, which are just hitting showrooms now. The music video campaign specifically promotes the high-performance Civic SI series.

The Music Box service releases new songs and videos every Tuesday. Starting October 8 and continuing throughout the fourth quarter, Honda will select the titles it wants to be associated with the Civic brand. For the most part, those titles will fall within the pop/rock genre.

“We’re not going to do any opera,” Howell jokes when asked about parameters. Also excluded: songs with lyrics that might run afoul of FCC decency guidelines.