A lot of people don't think of Honda's auto division as loaded with a sense of humor. If you asked most consumers, the perception would probably be that Honda is a fairly conservative automaker that stays on message and avoids a lot of histrionics. But Honda has always had some fun with smaller cars like Civic and Fit, which it has marketed to younger consumers with platforms like Civic Tour and its ebullient (perhaps over-optimistic) "One More Thing to Love About Today" campaign featuring the music of soul band Vintage Trouble.
And Honda is also the only automaker to take April Fools’ Day kind of seriously as a way to do ersatz advertising. Last year, when the company was rolling out the new Odyssey minivan, it played on the vehicle’s then-new built-in HondaVac cleaner to tout a HondaHAIR accessory meant to cut hair, à la the Flowbee.
The automaker did it again this year with a faux program for its new Fit that makes fun of the "maker" movement where people are building their own stuff. In this case, the “campaign” is about the 2015 Fit Kit, touted as the first production car that one can assemble oneself. It's believable because kit cars used to be a big deal before cars became more complicated than the average Saturn IV rocket.
The faux idea is that Honda will deliver the Fit, all 200,000 parts, in boxes starting on April 14, when it launches the actual 2015 Fit.
Who's the global manager of the at-home assembly project quoted in the official news bulletin? One Kuruma Tsukuru. "Young people around the world are making their own handmade belts, coasters and tie racks, why not their own Fit?" he says.
Or would say if Tsukuru were real. Kuruma Tsukuru actually means "hand built car" in Japanese, according to Alicia Jones, manager of Honda & Acura social marketing.
There's long-form documentary-style video, where two 20-something actors play a couple, he with -- what else -- a 1920's "stache" in their -- what else -- loft space talk about why they are building the car, which they are building -- where else -- in their loft. “It comes in boxes, just like our organic produce.” There’s even a tag: “Build Something Special.”
"We are poking fun at DIYers out there and the maker movement in general," says Jones. There's also a bit of a poke at Amazon's drone-delivery experiments: parts of the car are delivered by little automated helicopters.
Jones tells Marketing Daily that, fun notwithstanding, there's a serious effort underpinning the jokes. As was the case last year with the Odyssey, the Fit effort is timed with the car's actual launch on April 14. "If you go to the site you can preview the new Fit before it's available; there's a link from the video pointing you to our [legit] site for more information."