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Honda Asks Pinterest Users to Take a Day off, With 'Pintermission'

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With the launch of its official Pinterest page less than a week ago and a new social-media campaign targeting Pinterest users, Honda is one of a few auto brands to make a big marketing push on the platform.

"It's such a fast-growing social-media network and seemed like a really good, different, creative outlet for us and a chance to use a visual medium to promote our cars," Lauren Ebner, assistant manager of social media at American Honda Motor Co., told Ad Age.

Honda "wanted to have the opportunity to put images of our cars on there ... as a way to drive people back to our website," Ms. Ebner added. "Most of our images link back to Honda.com, and [users] can find out more about the car that way."

Beyond making its foray onto the site, Honda has launched a Pinterest-focused campaign with the help of its longtime agency, Santa Monica-based RPA. They've identified top "pinners" and offered each one $500 to take a "Pintermission" (a 24-hour break from Pinterest) to get out and visit some of the places they've been pinning about or buy some of the products they've pinned. So far, one plans to use the money toward a trip to London, and another toward a trip to Hawaii, Ms. Ebner said.

"We're just dipping our toes in the water here with our first campaign, but it will be a good opportunity to market some of our vehicle launches [in the future]," she said.

For the time being, the Honda CR-V will be a focus of "pins" the carmaker initiates, given it has a female-skewed demographic, much like Pinterest.

"The car is definitely targeted toward females," said Ms. Ebner. "From our research, it seems women are looking for a smaller SUV that drives like a car and has the utility and space they need. ... But it's not a huge truck that a woman like myself doesn't feel comfortable driving."

Pinterest, which launched in March 2010, is one of the fastest-growing platforms, reaching 10 million monthly visitors more quickly than Facebook or Twitter did. It ranks among the top 30 U.S. sites by total page views. ComScore has reported that women generate nearly 85% of activity on the site, lingering there for long periods of time, and that its users are upper-income consumers.

Yet very few automakers have a presence on Pinterest thus far, and even fewer have incorporated Pinterest into their marketing activitites at this point.

The most clever execution integrating the platform so far came from Peugeot in Panama, which last month ran a Pinterest-based competition to encourage followers on the site. On its page were puzzles depicting different car models, with pieces missing. People could find pieces at the Peugeot Panama Facebook page or website, pin them on their own boards and share it with Peugeot. Completed boards would win prizes.

A quick survey by Ad Age of the following handles for auto companies and brands found that many have been beaten to the punch by personal users who have scooped up their brand names. Among those that have squatters (largely women posting recipes and pictures of home decor): General Motors, Toyota, Hyundai, Chrysler, Ford, Chevrolet, Jeep, Mitsubishi, Cadillac, Volvo, Audi, Lexus and Mazda.

Volkswagen and Subaru were among the few that seem to have experimented with the site, while Infiniti and Nissan have reserved handles but not had any activity. As the site continues to grow, it will be interesting to watch whether the automakers find a way to claim their rightful handles.

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