Competition in the automobile sector is searing hot. Soon after Hyundai announced the launch of its new car Verna and an aggressive marketing plan to support it, Honda Siel has also finally decided on its media partner. The Japanese auto major has decided on ZenithOptimedia as its media partner.
With this, Honda has consolidated its Rs 100 crore business with ZO; so far the account was divided between Motivator and Dentsu Media.
The other agencies in the fray, apart from ZO and the incumbents, vying for the business were, Starcom MediaVest Group, Karishma Initiative and Lodestar UM. An interesting aspect to note here is that the buying partner for both SMG and ZO were the same - ViVaki Exchange.
A source close to the development stated, “At least that refutes the thought process that it boils down to rates!”
It is understood that Honda’s immediate area of focus would be its brand Honda City. The auto sector has been witnessing intense action from brands such as Toyota, Volkswagen with its latest campaign with Passat, Maruti and the recently announced Verna from Hyundai.
With all this action in the segment, what is the underlying thought process for Honda’s communication exercise? Speaking to exchange4media, Satyajit Sen, CEO, ZenithOptimedia India replied, “One thing we would be clear about is that media ROI (return on investment) would be at the centre of our thought process. It is about arising brands, but about the experience with the cars – that is a key touch point. If you have to drive experience and leads, you have to move the metric from branding to performance, and that would also mean shift in media strategies.”
Sen divulged that the Honda’s communication would see a lot more active media like digital in its mix. He said, “While there is an undeniable role of mass media, but in the changing consumer marketplace, one will have to think away from normal to create that experience for the consumer and keep him connected with the brand.”
In a prepared statement, Anita Sharma, Assistant Vice President, Marketing Communications, Honda Siel Cars India said, “We selected ZenithOptimedia because of their in-depth knowledge of the automobile industry and the current competitive environment. Their scientific and process-led planning with the help of tools such as touch-point and portfolio analysis were the main factors for Honda choosing them as their media partners.”
The creative business of Honda is divided between Ogilvy India, Grey and Dentsu.