Honda plans digital review to ‘up its game’

Honda is planning to review its digital advertising business ahead of plans to ramp up its digital work next year.

The marque, which has won a string of awards for its above-the-line advertising by Wieden & Kennedy (W&K), currently works with Midas. The agency is expected to be invited to repitch.

In an exclusive interview with Marketing Week, Honda head of marketing Jeff Dodds says that the increased focus on digital could present opportunities for other agencies.

Dodds, who replaced Simon Thompson as the company’s marketing chief on April 1, adds: “Next year will be the year of digital for Honda. We want to become a world leader in digital. We’re going to up our game and that will either present some challenges for Midas or for someone else.”

Historically, the digital side of the business has been part of Honda’s customer department but the company is bringing it under the control of Ian Armstrong, manager of customer communications, and is seeking someone to oversee the division on a day-to-day basis.

Dodds says that five years ago a typical consumer would have visited five showrooms before deciding what car to buy, but that now it is more like two.

He adds: “People are using digital platforms to research and narrow their choice down, so we have to lead the game in these digital platforms.”

Honda axed communications planning agency Naked Communications from its roster in July. It was appointed alongside W&K in 2002. Starcom handles planning and media buying for Honda, while Hicklin Slade is the marque’s direct marketing agency.

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