Honda is to launch interactive tele-vision (iTV) ads that will enable consumers to speak directly to a dealer in a showroom through their TV sets by the end of the year.
The Japanese car company believes it will be the first advertiser in the UK to enable live communication through an interactive ad. If viewers press the red buttons on their remote controls when the ad comes on, they will be given the option of speaking to a salesman at a dealership, providing they have a Webcam.
Due to technical complications, the interactive ads will initially be restricted to cable television, but Honda expects them to be extended to satellite.
The company says the internet has already almost entirely replaced the telephone for consumer enquiries in the UK, and expects the iTV ads to become an important part of its marketing communications.
Honda UK head of marketing Simon Thompson says: “We will prove that interactive TV is as big as the internet. This will be a very radical way to communicate to consumers and fits with our brand positioning of taking tomorrow’s ideas and turning them into today’s reality.”
Honda is also part of the Zip TV consortium, which aims to establish a channel dedicated to interactive advertising. The consortium includes BT, Gillette, Orange, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever.
At this month’s British Motor Show, Honda will offer test drives of its Civic IMA, a petrol/electric hybrid vehicle.