Honda Shifts Youtube Marketing into a New Gear

Late last week, Honda released a brilliant new Youtube video to promote its Honda Civic Type R car called “The Other Side.” What is novel about the video is that it provides users with the ability to control the video storyline by pressing and holding the “R” button (that’s right – you quite literally type ‘R’).

These two storylines mirror each other much like a parallel universe – shots are matched frame-for-frame, featuring the same actor and the same roadways. However, in one storyline the man is a driver assisting a robbery at night (or so we are led to believe), and in the other he is picking up his children from school during the day. Pressing “R” toggles to the more sinister storyline.

Watch the video below:

honda, type r, youtube, video marketing

via HondaVideo

There are number of reasons I believe this video works:

1) Effective message communication

The key goal of this video is to effectively convey that the Type R is not only a high-performing vehicle, but also good for family use. Nobody has ambitions for a mini-van (well – except when those backseat TVs came out – who wouldn’t want to have grown up with those!? Kids today…), so you needn’t comprise with a vehicle that’s both fun to drive and suited for family use. This video conveys that message very effectively.

2) User Engagement

Most Youtube videos are a passive experience. You sit, you watch, you leave if it’s not interesting within 30 seconds, or, if the brand is lucky, you make it to the end and click on a text bubble to a landing page. What’s new here is the user engagement throughout the video. The action is simple, but it stimulates the brain. And, anytime the brain is stimulated, brand recall is higher, due to the increased amounts of cognitive power being used to process information. Plus, I for one went back and forth in the video several times and re-watched sections to see how the storylines matched up, so the video has life beyond the initial watch.

3) Novel Experience

While Honda may not have re-invented the wheel with the Type R, they have crafted a novel video experience (which many brands are sure to follow in the future). The film-quality is exceptional, the storylines are interesting,  and the contrast between the two even more so. It’s fun, groundbreaking, and something people will talk about. For example, within hours of launching, my personal networks were covered with this video from car owners, (reluctant) public transport enthusiasts, and the more “wheel & spoke”-inclined, alike. The video fueled conversation (how many car metaphors can I use before the end of this post?), and extended well beyond the brand’s initial reach of Honda enthusiasts. Mission accomplished.

 What did you think of the Honda Civic Type R ad and this new type of  user experience?