- Actor and WWE star John Cena makes his debut as the voice of Honda in a new campaign that launched during the NBA Finals, according to a press release. In addition to airing on sports broadcasts and cable TV programs, the campaign will extend across digital media properties, such as Amazon, Verizon Media, Spotify, Tripadvisor, National Geographic and CBS Sports, as well as on Hispanic platforms, including Mitú.
- The brand will also have a heavy presence on Pinterest, sponsoring the "rewilding" trend from the 2020 Pinterest 100 Trend report via an official P100 badge. The campaign will also include category takeovers on Snapchat and Reddit.
- With Cena as the voice of the campaign, Honda is doubling down on its rugged persona. The outdoors-focused campaign touts the brand's Passport and Pilot SUVs and offers a glimpse of a newly redesigned 2021 Ridgeline pickup.
Looking to prove it is more than a nameplate of practical sedans like the Accord and Civic, Honda is using a new campaign to show off its rugged side and wide range of offerings for "outdoor adventuring," including SUVs and trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, side-by-sides and portable generators. The campaign comes at a time when interest in enjoying the outdoors has increased during the pandemic, reflected in higher sales for the outdoor recreation market and in Pinterest naming "rewilding" — which the platform seems to be using as a broad term referring to interest in the outdoors — as one of the top trends in Pins on its platform for 2020.
The new 60-second commercial depicts how the brand enables an outdoor life, not only through its vehicles, but also with a portable generator, and shows people using Honda's products to complete a wide array of activities, such as rock climbing, trailblazing and fishing. The spot depicts the Passport and Pilot SUVs in off-road settings as well as showing off Honda's other outdoor products, like motorcycles and Talon side-by-side off-road vehicles.
The brand is using its new rugged persona to introduce WWE superstar and actor John Cena as its new voice. Replacing Fred Savage, Cena is "known for his toughness and strength [who] also has a lot of heart," said Jay Joseph, vice president of automobile marketing at Honda Motor America, in the press release.
Outdoor themes have been leveraged this year by brands like Mtn Dew and Busch and could continue to be a focus of marketing going forward as consumers continue to curtail plane travel while looking for ways to get out of the house as the health crisis continues.
After debuting on the NBA Finals, Honda’s news campaign, which will run through 2021, will also appear on NFL and NCAA sports broadcasts on CBS and Fox. Thirty- and sixty-second versions of the commercial will appear on cable outlets such as TBS, Bravo, USA Networks and TNT, as well as on-demand video platforms like Hulu, NBC Universal, Watch ESPN and FOX Sports Go.
While car sales overall have been anemic since March, truck sales have shown surprising resistance during the pandemic. Though sales in all categories dropped in March and April, truck sales only fell 18.7%, compared with a 48.6% drop for passenger cars and a 36.6% drop for SUVs, according to Kelly Blue Book. In April, pickup sales exceeded car sales for the first time.