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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Honda Ad Campaign sends you away from their website

During Monday's (4/20/09) Chuck on NBC, Honda aired an ad where they ask you to go to Edmunds.com and visit the Honda branded cost of ownership posted there. This really threw me for a loop. Why would a company purposely direct customers to go to someone else's website? All my marketing experience (it isn't vast but I consider myself pretty knowledgeable) it is not a good idea to send someone away from your home base especially in the digital realm. The only reason to send someone away from your site is for unavoidable reasons. This was the first instance of this redirection that I could think of aside from the "look us up on Yahoo!/Google" (that didn't necessarily work). I was trying to read into the approach that Honda was using and guessing at why they chose this direction. Here is what I see from this campaign:

Honda is trying to use the "trusted source" that car buyers use to research their future purchases to leverage those buyers into their vehicle. I think this by itself is an interesting concept. One thing that I have a question about though does this actually work. Does sponsored content that pretends to be informational work better than a traditional banner ad?

I would love to see the return on this investment because I am sure that Edmunds not only agreed to be part of the commercial but that Honda had to put a substantial investment in the subpages that grew from their "sponsored" listing.

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