Honda Launches Honda Stage, Takes To The Road

Honda is going into the music business to tout both Honda and its younger-skewing vehicles like Civic, the forthcoming HR-V crossover, Accord and Fit. 

The Torrance, Calif.-based U.S. arm of the automaker has inked deals with Live Nation, Clear Channel's iHeartRadio, Sean Comb's Revolt music channel, YouTube and Vevo under a new program called Honda Stage. The platform centers on more than 100 live concerts over 12 months with artist content, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage and the performances channeled to a new Honda YouTube Channel, and media-partner properties.

Tom Peyton, who oversees marketing and advertising at American Honda, tells Marketing Daily that YouTube is the right hub for Honda’s content. “Most videos on YouTube are music already,” he says. “Music artists have the biggest social reach.” He also points out that Millennials are the biggest portion of concert attendance, and over half of consumers favor sponsors backing concerts. He adds that the multi-city concerts will be in "iconic locations" in major markets with production and artist deals via a turnkey partnership with Live Nation in which the latter will, among other things, serve as performance talent intermediary. 

Of the three cars getting the focus, "all do big volume for us among under-35-year-old consumers," says Peyton, adding that 40% of Civic sales are to Millennials. 

In addition to the Live Nation concerts around the country, there will be Honda Stage concerts at iHeartRadio Theater in L.A.; and performances and on-stage interviews at Revolt Studios in Hollywood. Honda Stage performances will also grace extant festivals like “Governors Ball” in New York, “Austin City Limits” and “Music Midtown” in Atlanta; and the Honda Civic Tour, in its 13th year, which is also transmogrifying into three consecutive road shows around three different genres: pop, rock and Latin music. 

And in addition to streaming on the Honda Stage YouTube Channel, content will be broadcast on Revolt TV; the iOS and Revolt apps; Vevo's Web, mobile and tablet and TV apps; Clear Channel; and Honda's other social media channels. The program includes a dedicated in-vehicle app via mobile content aggregator Aha, integrated with HondaLink, the automaker's infotainment system.  

Peyton says the company will get dividends on earned and social media. "We expect to see tens of millions of earned and promotional impressions on the YouTube channel," he says. "We'll see hundreds of millions of people watching ads with the content."

He adds that the company expects to get 2 billion Impressions across Vevo, YouTube, iHeartRadio, Live Nation and Revolt channels; one million experiential impressions. and social posts in the thousands.

Also on tap this month are new ads for the Honda Fit that focus on the kinds of flexible interior configurations popular with Millennials and featuring Comedy Central's Nick Thune. "He's on his way up and filming a TV pilot, so we got the right guy at the right time," says Peyton.

There are four 30-second spots for the campaign, launching June 24, with a more traditional TV strategy hitting this September on prime time, and major sports.

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