Viral Ad Campaign of the Week: Honda Civic “The Other Side”

Honda Civic The Other side viral video feature

Some viral ad campaigns reach their high numbers due to their cutting edge use of online tools. It’s not always about flashy slogans, mistakes made strengths, or awesome CGI. Sometimes it’s just about telling a story, and making your fans a part of it with technology.

The Honda Civic “The Other Side” viral ad campaign is just such an example of fans telling the story along with the brand via technology. They have used a highly interactive ‘choose’ your own adventure’ path with their latest video. It’s not only fun, but it’s shareable too!


Viral Ad Campaign of the Week: Honda Civic “The Other Side”

The Honda Civic “The Other Side” video is an interactive video which viewers are allowed to watch as they please. The video is not embeddable as they built a special YouTube page for it. Watch it here, and check out the preview below:

The first time you watch it all the way through, without any interaction, it’s a pretty safe video. Picking up the kids. They want ice cream. Then there’s a party with costumes. A wholesome commercial for the family.

Watch it a second time, with the R key pressed down, and you see a whole different story. Our ‘dad’ appears to be a getaway driver for two guys stealing an artifact. Each scene mirrors the other at the exact same moment in the video:

  1. When he’s waiting to pick up the kids, press the R key and see he’s waiting to pick up the robbers.
  2. When the kids are watching the ice cream truck following them, they have a tail following the robber car.
  3. When the kids come storming out of the garage, swat team members come out of a storage container to get the bad guys.

And the parallel story moments go on and on. The question that is left at the end is “was he a bad guy too, or part of the police swat team?”

Other aspects of the Honda Civic “The Other Side” viral ad campaign

As you always have to consider with a viral video that is this planned out, you have to get people to go to your website to find out more. Before you engage our video promotion service you have to know that a viral video can not exist on its own. Honda did it their way by first giving you two things to click on at the end of the video during this screen:

honda civic the other side viral ad end of video

Clicking on the right half will take you to the Civic R page. Clicking on the left side will take you to the regular Civic page. The duality is the key here. They’re showing families that they can get what they want, while the more adventurous can get their ideal car too.

The other key thing that they’re trying to do is get email addresses. The Civic R pages features an email collection form:

honda civic the other side viral ad

Taking a viral video that may last a month at best, and giving it a way to stay in contact with those reached, is a brilliant viral marketing ideas.

To get it social, they chose a hashtag, #typeR. The video is getting lots of kudos from others in the social media circle, but it isn’t lost on the general population:

Honda has even gone a step further to add to their marketing by joining on what was actually the viral ad campaign of the week (which I obviously couldn’t write about):

Pretty funny. But I’m sorry: Kim K wins that backside comparison.

Problems with the Honda Civic “The Other Side” video

My main problem with Honda Civic’s “The Other Side” video is they worked hard to make the video interactive, but I haven’t seen much in the way of making anything else that interactive. You’re seeing shares of it on Twitter and Facebook, but those aren’t really going anywhere. People aren’t commenting, they’re not feeling like they’re part of it outside of pushing the ‘R’ key.

A better campaign would have pushed hard on the idea they present on one page about sharing their “Type R” personality and moments. It all just seemed to sputter, this tweet is a prime example:

*FACE PALM* It said Type R, not type ‘r.’

It’s a new concept, so we can forgive it for going over some people’s heads. There could, however, have been better wording and promotion to let people know what was going on. But then making things idiot proof in 140 characters or less is a real challenge!

by Ernest Thompson

Ernest is an online marketing user and abuser with a keen eye for the latest viral trends. His years of experience in the online marketing industry are presented here on Viral Tactics for you to learn from, and to offer you a chance to add your opinions.