American Honda fortifies strategy with sponsorships

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American Honda Motor Co., seeking alternatives to banner-only Web marketing, is diversifying its online ad strategy with programming on two new custom-created Web sites.

American Honda's Honda Division signed a six-month sponsorship of two online programs, Driving Today, a car enthusiast site, and Gamers Today, a videogame information site.

Honda will promote Prelude for the first two months, Honda's racing engine in the next two months and the new S2000 two-seater roadster near the end of the year.


Honda and Web shop Rubin Postaer Interactive, Santa Monica, Calif., see sponsorships as an alternative to banner ads in targeting some prospects.

"We noticed that the click-through rate on banners had dropped considerably and pretty consistently," said Edmund Purcell, account supervisor for RPI, a division of Honda general agency Rubin Postaer & Associates.

"We felt it was important to bring traffic into Honda's site in new and different ways," Mr. Purcell said.

Rubin Postaer worked with Studio One Networks, a New York-based developer and distributor of original Internet programming, to develop sites to reach its target.

The sites can be reached through buttons placed on various car and online game-related sites in the DoubleClick Network, ESPN Infoseek Racing and Cablevision's EZ Seek Auto Channel.


Every page of content will include a sponsorship message from Honda linked to Honda's Prelude site. In addition, visitors can e-mail Honda designers and racers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Honda will initially target Prelude buyers who are upper-income male college graduates age 25 to 49, said Meridee Alter, RPI VP-media director. Prelude buyers have a strong interest in videogames and are auto enthusiasts, she said.

Contributing: David Guilford.

Copyright June 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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