Honda shifts brand image from ‘whimsical to daring’ as it celebrates biggest ever year

Honda is using its biggest ever year in terms of product launches to shift its brand image from “whimsical to more daring, bold and sporty” as it looks to build on growing momentum at the car marque.

Launching tomorrow (14 August), a new brand campaign aims to mark 2015 as the “year of Honda” by highlighting its engineering achievements. It showcases the huge range of products Honda sells – from cars to motorcycles to jets – by lining them all up in a convoy that looks like a rocket.

Dubbed Ignition and created by Wieden+Kennedy, the TV spot aims to “create a metaphorical rocket and sense of mission launch” according to Honda’s European marketing lead Jemma Jones.

She told Marketing Week: “Thinking about our launches this year we wanted to do something big. We felt it was only right to liken our engineering achievements to the biggest feat in mankind’s history – space exploration.

“We wanted to mark 2015 with a celebration, an epic brand campaign that really celebrated the diversity and breadth of the brand.”

honda brand

Honda’s biggest year

It is part of a big marketing push from Honda that will see it launch six campaigns this year for both its brand and products. The Ignition campaign, which will includes digital and social activity, comes ahead of planned activity around the launch of its CRV and Jazz models later this year.

All its marketing will align with the brand’s strategy “race to be better”, said Jones. She explained that the whole brand is on an “upward curve” to move towards a more sport and technologically advanced brand image following the appointment of a new CEO.

“We are intentionally trying to move away from a more whimsical brand image to a more daring, bold, sport and advanced brand image.”

Jemma Jones, department manager for marketing communications, Honda Europe

“There’s a lot of momentum, that is the critical mission for us this year,” she explained.

Jones hopes the ads will give a “real sense of energy, optimism, confidence and positivity around the brand”, not just to consumers but also to Honda’s staff and dealerships.

“Advertising is more than just a short-term sales pitch. It is about having that impact on the world of Honda,” she added.

“We operate in very competitive segments and we have to be at the top of our game. If an ad has long-term appeal and stays in people’s minds it helps us to generate top of mind awareness.”