Honda Gets Grinch-y

He’s got termites in his smile and control over Honda’s Twitter account

There are few things, at least in the advertising world, that more clearly signal the holiday season is about to start than the launch of Happy Honda Days. The automaker’s annual sales event, which comes wrapped in a big bow and delivered to your TV, is as sure a bellwether of the season as your local soft rock radio station switching to all Christmas music for a month.

This year someone is out to turn Honda’s smile upside down.

As part of its partnership with Universal Pictures and Illumination, this year’s Happy Honda Days have been hijacked by The Grinch, the star of the animated feature now in theaters. He’s taking over the car brand’s Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube channels and using them to spread his message of holiday misery far and wide.

Things started off yesterday when a 30-second spot, also shared as a promoted post on Twitter, showed The Grinch was stripping Honda dealerships of not only their holiday decorations but also their cars, leaving nothing for customers to find. That Tweet was preceded by earlier posts as The Grinch gained access to the account and began spreading his #GrinchTakeover message.

Throughout the day today The Grinch will continue sharing his true feelings about all those pleasant would-be car-shoppers. It all culminates on Tuesday when The Grinch’s final plans will be revealed on E!’s “The Rundown” show on Snapchat and “Today with Kathy Lee and Hoda” on NBC, the network sibling of Universal Pictures.

The “UnHappy Honda Days” campaign is in-line with much of the rest of the movie’s marketing prior to its release a couple weeks ago. Universal’s marketing included a series of outdoor billboards featuring The Grinch making snide, sarcastic comments about the city the billboards were placed in.

That’s the same tone Universal struck on the movie’s official Twitter account, which was written as if it was coming from The Grinch himself and had him making fun of NFL games and otherwise riffing on current cultural and sports events.

It’s also the second time Universal used “The Today Show” as part of the movie’s marketing, announcing the Grinch For Good philanthropic campaign on the show in early November. That was in addition to promotional appearances from stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Kenan Thompson.

Unlike some other car brands, Honda hasn’t been a big player in movie promotions. In 2009 is partnered with 20th Century Fox for a UK campaign tied to the James Cameron blockbuster Avatar, releasing a spot titled “Everything” that edited dozens of videos together and layered them into a single commercial to show how broad the company’s portfolio of cars was.

The Grinch campaign is the culmination of Honda’s recent revival of the “Toys” banner that’s included recent spots featuring The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Care Bears and more.

Author: Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.

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