How was the Honda Cog advertising campaign viewed by the public?

22 Nov


I asked myself this question as I surfed the net looking for information. On Honda and found a really well written article on how the add affected the public. from and I wanted it to be from a good source. I found an article which was very helpful. It is very short and precise, easy to read and I found it on which is a great site for researching advertising and the way it affects the public.

Here’s some thing I look for in a site, a mission statement or an explanation of what the site is so that I can asses how relevant it is as a source of material.

Thinkbox is the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, in all its forms. Its shareholders are  Channel 4, Five, GMTV, ITV, Sky Media and Turner Media Innovations who represent over 90% of commercial TV advertising revenue through their owned and partner TV channels.  Thinkbox works with the marketing community with a single ambition: to help advertisers get the best out of today’s TV.”[17]

Very well constructed site for those of you interested in advertising. Here is a direct quote of the article I mentioned before.

“Honda Cog [18]

“Using DiTV to extract greater media value and increase exposure


When an advertiser has powerful content it is important to bring it to as wide an audience as possible. Honda Cog shows how Interactive TV (iTV) can be used to extend the power and value of a traditional TV campaign and generate a significant return on investment.


Honda is an iconic brand. The advertising ideas are inspired by ‘The Power of Dreams’. Most Honda TV ads are events in themselves and the “Cog” execution was no exception. The advert showed a continuous movement created by parts from the Honda Accord.

The full length ad lasted for two minutes and was a masterpiece. It took 656 takes and a huge budget.

However, the nature of TV airtime meant that the two minute ad received few airings with the majority of the campaign being the 30 second cut down.

Campaign Aims

Interactive TV was to form part of a multi-media campaign intended to maximise the exposure of the creative work thereby increasing interest in the Honda Brand and ‘The Power of Dreams’. Weapon7’s approach was a simple one. We wanted to show the full length ad more often on TV and distribute DVD’s containing the content to viewers.


In this case the content was king. The iTV application was designed to show the ad at its best whilst still being affordable.

The design played the two minute ad in full aspect ratio giving it a filmic quality. Viewers could then choose to order a brochure or DVD without interrupting their viewing. In this way we effectively increased the exposure of the two minute film using 30 second airtime.


Over ¼ million people “pressed red” to spend more time with the Honda brand.

97% of viewers rated their experience positively with an average dwell time of 2½ minutes. A significant minority spent up to 10 minutes watching the ad.

In addition, over 10,000 people requested a DVD or brochure, equating to a response rate of 0.32% – five times the car category average.

Honda has used this data to arrange a significant number of test drives.

Valuing the business leads and the (discounted) airtime equivalent we can demonstrate that we created a return on investment of over 200% at a time when bandwidth was significantly more expensive than the current market rate.

Thanks to Weapon7 for providing this case study.”

I did some background checks on other sites and the info seems solid. Honda really was a huge success story in the advertising industry and for Honda as an investment. The main aim of an advert is to instil some kind of response from the customer to influence them to act on what they are viewing. The responses to the Honda advert were amazing.

Cog was first aired on British television on Sunday 6 April 2003. It filled an entire commercial break in ITV‘s coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix.[10] The release was widely remarked upon by the media, including articles in The Daily Telegraph,[2] The Independent,[17] and The Guardian.[18] The day after the first airing of Cog, the Honda website received more hits than at any time in its history, and overnight became the second largest automotive website.” [19]

The plan of making it an interactive advert was a brilliant idea. The most likely time when people will be interested in finding out more information on an advert is while they’re watching it. So adding that interactive function allowed the public to not only view the advert, but learn more about Honda, the Accord, and how they could purchase it. It may even pave the way for more interactive adverts to be aired on TV. I just hope they add a skip function for most adds we are so bombarded with useless adverts these days. Regardless the purpose of an advert is to create interest in a invoke interest in a product and then link it to relevant information. The Honda website is well made and is also an interactive experience with 360 viewing of their cars and brochures that are colourful interesting an informative. I now understand why the advert had such a big impact on its viewers. It was also backed up by Honda’s website which provided the enquiring mind with information on the car and a medium in which to buy it.

By making the advert interactive Honda provided themselves with a form of market research and a way of measuring peoples responses. Advertising companies charge allot for market research. I know because I used to do market research for Concepts Advertising for a car dealership company called Huggins on the customers views on their service and they’re latest products. Its a rather time consuming but interesting task calling up 120 numbers in a week and trying to get at least forty people to answer a quick survey and at least ten people to speak to face to face. Always interesting to hear some of peoples opinions but very time consuming and costly for the company because I did this every month then they compile the data at the end of the year into a review. Honda’s method of making it interactive means they can measure how many people pressed the red button and they’re responses to questions. They can also collect market research data from their site and where people click this is more efficient, precise and a easier way to collect data from customers all being instigated by one advert. “Killing two birds with one stone” so to say, this is a smart move on Honda’s part.

The video at the top of the post shows you some of the Honda accords new features and is quite nice because its of people filming & photographing the whole car. (yunusakdeniz 10 march 2008)

To finish up I wanted to see what is the Accord like to drive? As a car does it handle well what’s it like inside etc. We only get to see a few seconds of the whole car at the end so I sifted through the many videos of Honda reviews and found one that was aired just before the release of a new model of accord but it also shows the tourer version. It provides some insight into what the cars performance,looks and target market aspirations.

Honda Accord Review by Adrian Higgins. Source: [20]

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