Honda CR-V: When Consumers Become Co-Writers

Post Advertising recently wrote about Noah St. John, a fifteen-year-old who delivered an emotion-packed spoken word poetry performance. He relates intense emotional experiences, all centered around his Honda CR-V.

Noah’s performance is a reminder: Sure, Honda can create their side of the story, alter the texture of their seats, ads, Facebook posts and tweets, but there is ultimately another side to that story that is continuously being written by those who are interacting with their brand. And Honda got a pretty great co-writer. Noah’s story even got tweeted by both Neil Patrick Harris and Debra Messing as “an absolute must watch.”

Honda did not sponsor this video. This is authentic content that is completely unassociated with the brand, which makes it that much more appealing to the audience. As Jon Thomas of Post Advertising points out, this isn’t another thirty-second clip that I avoided; it is a six-minute video that I didn’t want to end. The part of a brand story that is written by consumers is powerful , often more powerful than the brand’s own efforts will ever be.

“There are too many reasons that my mommas found love in each other’s presence. There are too many moments when we are unbreakable. And in this moment, we are one family, constructing roads as we go, burning bridges behind us, adding mileage like graceful aging, driving in our CR-V towards moonlight.”

I mean, come on. This is gold. Through this story, Honda cars transcend their bounds as objects. His Honda is the vehicle of his mothers’ love– for each other, for him– it is their comfort and excitement. After hearing the story, our link to the brand is ultimately altered and we are connected to Honda through the raw and exhilarating lens of fifteen-year-old storyteller, Noah St. John.

Currently, Honda has just given Noah a Facebook mention. Do you think Honda should be giving his performance more attention? Let me know below!


Hired or Fired: The Dew’s Violent Goat

Goats are having a moment. From the Doritos Super Bowl commercial to the Taylor Swift screaming goat video (Bon Jovi’s even in there at 1:53), the goat has been the media’s animal of choice.

Mountain Dew jumped on the trend with a video directed by Tyler Haly (a.k.a. Tyler, The Creator) of a violent, talking goat voiced by Tyler himself.

Hilarious? Disturbing?

Let’s take a step back. Tyler Haly is the front man of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (commonly referred to as Odd Future), a rap group from L.A. that made it big a couple of years ago. As suggested by their name, their typical subject matter is controversial at best. To elucidate the wolf gang style, in an interview with Spin, Tyler compared himself to the wreck on the side of a highway that every other car is trying to get a peak at.

Mountain Dew has an open and quirky brand personality (remember their prohibition ad in response to Bloomberg’s soda ban proposal?)…But do you think the goat ad went too far? Odd Future is trendy, edgy and funny, which certainly may contribute to the Mountain Dew story.

Tyler recently tweeted:


(So they’re letting him do another one!)

What do you think about Mountain Dew’s violent goat? Should Tyler, the Creator be Hired or Fired?

Across the Senses

Ever wonder why Pringles are so addicting? Turns out, it’s not just the taste of the chip, but also the sound of the crunch, that gets you to the bottom of the can.

There's a reason why the fun don't stop...

There’s a reason why the fun don’t stop…

Yesterday, Ad Age published an article on the sensory marketing research of Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist whose clients include Unilever, McDonalds, and Proctor and Gamble. One of his findings demonstrates that responses to taste are affected by the sounds heard while munching.

“When we think about a product we always tend to think in terms of a single sense,” says Spence in a 2008 report. “Our brains, however, are constantly taking in information that impinges on each of our senses (including what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell.)”

It is one of the biggest critiques given in university writing workshops—‘where are the rest of the senses in your story?’ Every character is at all times hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and feeling. If the author (or company) doesn’t tell the reader (consumer) what the character is experiencing, then the reader fills in those gaps themselves. As an author, or as a company, that is control that you do not want to give up. Therefore, the more senses that are involved when interacting with your brand, the stronger and richer your brand story becomes.

In Spence’s report, he mentions “super-additivity,” or the idea that weaker signals can be combined by the brain to create a perception that is “far stronger than the sum of its parts.” Compare this to the efforts you make to connect to consumers–posts, tweets, pins, emails, packaging, videos, tunes—every small action contributes to the strength of your brand story.

According to Ad Age, Unilever and Courvoisier already hopped on the sensory marketing bandwagon. The next time you put on some Axe, pay attention to the sound and speed of the deodorant’s spray–feel “powerful and attractive?” All the work of careful engineering.

Have you ever noticed how your different senses affect a certain experience? Rethinking that Pringles addiction? Let me know below!

Grey Poupon: The Classy Condiment

High-class. Sophisticated. Exclusive. All words we use when describing the Oscars, Meryl Streep and Grey Poupon mustard.

Wait, what?

For years, Grey Poupon has marketed itself as “one of life’s finer pleasures.” In 1981, its famous “Pardon Me” advertisements garnered a lot of attention.

More clips can be found here and here. The movie “Wayne’s World” even parodied the commercial.

Omar Kattan of Brand Stories spoke about the way in which Grey Poupon has “masterfully carried their storyline into the digital age.” He praises their “Spread Good Taste” campaign, which included one of the first ever endeavors where a company actually turned away Facebook fans. To qualify to “like” their page, fans had to fill out an application to become a member of “The Society Of Good Taste” and have their profiles screened (points were taken away for bad grammar).

Recently, the Krafts Foods brand premiered the revival of their legendary “Pardon Me” ad at the Oscars as “The Lost Footage.” “It’s the classiest award show of the year, so it’s very in line with the brand,” said Sara Braun who heads Grey Poupon at Kraft Foods. The new commercial puts an action-packed spin on the old one, complete with a car chase and a champagne revolver.

Leaked footage of the video was released before the premiere for buzz and anticipation. The brand continues the orchestration of their exclusive brand story with a storm of tweets before, during, and after the awards show.

What do you think? Is Grey Poupon the classiest condiment to date?