When rebrands go wrong

(And how to avoid the pitfalls)

Honda switches to selling the brand not product

Honda is launching a global brand campaign driven by telling stories about epic journeys on social media as part of a wider effort to sell a brand ideal rather than specific products.


The #MyJourney campaign was inspired by a customer who has been travelling the world in a Honda Civic for the last eight years. He approached Honda to see if he could take the car back to the factory it was made at in Japan to end his journey.

In response, Honda developed a digital hub which will host content and the brand hopes others will be inspired to share their journeys and create an on-going brand project that builds over time. 

The campaign has only been in the planning phase since April, which Simon Nicholson, Honda European social media manager, says is a fairly short turnaround from the inception of an idea to rolling out such a broad campaign.

Nicholson says: “We’re moving forward to talking about marketing projects, rather than campaigns because it’s about on-going engagement. Do we want spikes of activity or something we can sustain?”

“It’s a soft marketing approach because what we want to do is sell our brand, not a specific product. We want to explain what Honda is about. There’s as human pull, it does talk about our products and it’s the idea of chasing a dream – which is all in the Honda Philosophy.”

European marketing director Martin Moll recently spoke to Marketing Week about the need for the brand’s advertising to be more creative and regain its edge.

Separately, Honda is also rolling out a new pan-European online platform that integrates brand, data systems and process to provide a more cohesive and measurable experience across all markets. It was created by LBi.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Is this really new (or news)?

    Despite the fact that it's the perfect approach and something that brands should be adopting, Honda have been doing this for years.

    Cf 'Impossible Dream' (2005 and 2010 remix), 'What If'? (2008), '#FirstHonda' (2009), 'Cog' to a certain extent and anything involving ASIMO.

    Will we see Honda acting as the vanguard for other brands, returning to an emotional pull space rather than a product push one?

    At least the brand are going back to something that they've done before and building on it. It may not be new news, but it's laudable.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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