HONDA, 'USA TODAY' JOIN FOR INTEGRATED CR-V LAUNCH: LATEST SPORT UTILITY FIGHTS RAV4

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American Honda Motor Co.'s Super Bowl spot showed its new CR-V driving across the pages of USA Today. That's just the beginning of an integrated marketing campaign with the national daily.

The estimated $50 million campaign for the first Honda-designed sport-utility vehicle began with a Jan. 24 spread in the paper. Then came the 60-second Super Bowl spot.

Today, Honda steers CR-V onto the paper's Web site (http://

www.usatoday.com) for an elaborate weeklong set of appearances across Web pages, including a clever gambit in which the CR-V drives through a column of news briefs.

The $19,000 CR-V goes on sale in the U.S. Feb. 5, and a light TV schedule on sports and cable programming will run-due to limited supply at dealerships-until a four-week blitz begins Feb. 24. A regular launch magazine campaign starts about the same time; outdoor ads start in March.

Rubin Postaer & Associates, Santa Monica, Calif., created the advertising, Web and direct-marketing campaign as well as dealer promotion materials and brochures, marking Honda's most integrated launch ever.

COMPARABLE TO CIVIC EFFORT

VP-Management Supervisor Joan Egan said spending will be comparable to the redesigned 1996 Civic, which Honda supported with $51.6 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

The ad campaign has its origins in a positive review USA Today ran last year on the CR-V, a carlike SUV whose sales have swept past the funky Toyota RAV4 in the Japanese market (the Super Bowl spot opened with a 2-second shot of the paper's review). Honda hopes to produce 60,000 CR-Vs for the U.S. this year.

"The importance goes beyond sheer units," Ms. Egan said. "It's Honda's first

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