Honda Crowdsources a Movie

Selling a Hybrid with Fun, Not Fuel-Efficiency Sermons

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It takes a brave brand to crowdsource an entire movie, but that's exactly what Honda did with its "Live Every Litre" campaign to promote the new CR-Z hybrid car.

Instead of pummeling consumers with the usual fuel economy messages, preaching at them to drive more responsibly and baffling them with renewable technology innovations, Honda wanted drivers to trust the company with the science of fuel efficiency and get on with the important business of enjoying the CR-Z.

Strippers, war heroes and bouncy castles all feature in this European road trip movie that started life on social media platforms. Using a specially customized car fitted with cameras, and with a professional camera crew following closely behind, Honda set out to capture the journeys of its drivers as they drove the "Live Every Litre" experience.

In February 2010, a CR-Z vehicle was fitted with cameras, and drivers were recruited through various social networking platforms. The "Live Every Litre" website allowed users to download widgets that would enable them to promote their application to friends, family, colleagues and wider communities. Individuals had to audition for a chance to drive the car by stating where they would go and what they would do with the vehicle -- such as take a loved one to Paris to propose, trace an ancestor or take their band to play a special gig.

More than 1,000 applications were received from 28 countries including Spain, Germany, Switzerland, U.K. and Romania. Applicants were selected by the project director based on the most highly rated auditions and the most popular applicants in the Live Every Litre community. Filming took place over 38 days, starting in the Netherlands, heading down through Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and finishing at the infamous Nürburgring racing circuit in Germany.

The resulting movie received a pan-European premiere in a simultaneous mixture of real events and online broadcast. The final film focused on the stories of five of the final cast and followed burlesque artist "Agent Lynch" as she brings Paris to a stand-still with a guerrilla routine in the streets of the capital; fun-loving trio "The Schoolboys," who attempted the first recorded crossing of Lake Garda by bouncy castle and interrupt an international sailing regatta at the same time; "Bowman," a war veteran who has an emotional return to the site where he landed during D-Day in 1944; and heavy-metal enthusiast Thomas, who drove from Madrid to Lisbon to realize his dream of meeting his all-time favorite band, Metallica.

These stories are punctuated throughout with the tale of Sebastian, who attempts "100 things to do before you die" in tribute to a friend who died in a tragic accident. Sebastian had already married a stranger in Vegas and broken a Guinness World Record, and his appearance in the film is no less exciting as he gets his first tattoo in Amsterdam, gate crashes a red-carpet premiere and sky dives naked.

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