Honda “Experiment” Tests Shallowness, Vanity

narc Honda Motor Company is running a marketing campaign packaged as a “social experiment.” The cover story is to see how much people “love” Honda automobiles by inviting them to post personal photos and blurbs on the Facebook “social” networking site.

The truth, of course, is that what Honda is really testing is how effectively they can convert people’s petty vanity and sheer programmability into still more irrational brand loyalty.

Have people been falling into this trap?

The results thus far have blown away Mr. Peyton, who felt at the campaign’s onset that “If we got a million connections, that would be cool.” He called the push “a pretty powerful piece of advertising because people are buying into it and we aren’t giving anything away.”

Honda initially supported the site with a sprinkling of ads on Facebook. “It wasn’t a big media buy, but it got a lot of attention,” said Tom Peyton, senior manager-national advertising. Earlier this month, TV was added to the mix, with 15- and 30-second spots featuring actual owners. The commercials were created by Honda’s longtime agency, independent RPA, Santa Monica, which developed the concept. The buy, also handled by RPA, encompasses prime-time programming such as “30 Rock,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Dancing With the Stars” and NFL football.

The campaign got a huge boost after a one-day targeted homepage takeover Oct. 19 on high-reach sites, including ESPN.com, CNN.com and SportsYahoo.com. That more than doubled the number of Facebook fans into the range of 1.7 million. (As of press time Oct. 22, the number had topped 2 million).

Footnote: As of this morning, the number of victims of this campaign is approaching 2.5 million.

Big Brother’s Shopping Cart

For those interested in the institutional workings of market totalitarianism, I very strongly recommend watching this 6 minute, 27 second video on the coming of the Media Cart.

This warm, comfortable little market-totalitarian insider’s video really speaks for itself, if you happen to understand the nature and logic of big business marketing. The only aspect you might miss without my comment is the fleeting but important mention of this extra “added value” to the capitalist: still-further reduction of in-store “labor costs” — i.e., jobs in the already scandalously understaffed retail sector.

This Media Cart monstrosity, you see, is not not just another new emplacement of an Orwellian telescreen for spying on those tellingly called “consumers,” but also a new way to further automate the work of the store clerk. Now, capitalists can run their mega-marts with 6 instead of 10 near-minimum-wagers.

“My”Space.com

It preys upon petty vanities. It passes itself off as real human interaction, which, along with corporate capitalism’s #1 form of bread-and-circuses, commercial TV, it helps crowd out in favor of time spent on “marketing platforms.” It is owned by the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s infamous media mega-conglomerate. Its ulterior purpose?

Take a look… The print version of this ad (see the latest edition of Advertising Age) ends by calling myspace.com “the world’s largest targeting platform.”  That, and not any desire to improve human life, is precisely its raison d’etre.  No more, no less.
There you have it.  Corporate espionage as “self expression.” “My” space indeed!

If you fall for this trick, you are feeding the devil, selling your soul for a plastic nickel. Don’t do it.

P.S. It also shows you how “new” the new media are. The hipster creeps who invent and run these things are, if anything, WORSE than the quiz show hucksters who preceded them.