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In an original debut in the Asian-American market, American Honda Motor Co. wants to be identified with boba, a sweet milky tea drink with beads of tapioca and sipped through a thick straw. Boba is wildly popular among young Asians. Starting in California, with New York to follow soon, Honda is providing cardboard coffee sleeves that wrap around the plastic boba cup and feature Civic and Acura models. Starbucks-like boba cafes are frequented by the same young Asians who heavily accessorize their cars. Never mind that boba is Chinese slang for "big breasts," a reference to a buxom actress who first popularized the drink in Taiwan.

"We're even looking at having a boba stand in our Honda cafeteria," said Barbara Ponce, Honda's manager, emerging markets.

Separately, in Honda's first Asian-American ad campaign, "Calligraphy," striking TV and print work from Muse Cordero Chen & Partners, Los Angeles, features car tracks spelling out the Chinese character for life.

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