Honda turns to crab in a pinch

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Online advertising can be tweaked and targeted like no other medium, and Honda is taking advantage, marketing its Element with an animated crab called Gil, who was introduced online and later migrated into 2006 TV ads.

Honda gave the crustacean a MySpace profile in July and wove product information into his blog. The push was expanded Aug. 15 with a campaign to save Gil's acting career, asking visitors to visit and petition Honda to use him in 2007 Element ads. He already has more than 12,000 backers, but Honda's agency, RPA, Santa Monica, Calif., has made a deal with the Smoking Gun: The site will reveal "an unfortunate incident" involving Gil that could prevent him from appearing the 2007 ads, said RPA's J. Barbush, associate interactive creative director.
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