If you’re trying to launch a viral campaign, it helps to have a 25-year head start.
Repeat after me: “Bueller… Bueller… Bueller…?”
Early in 2012, American Honda tapped in to the established buzz about
the 25th anniversary of the iconic movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to
promote its CR-V model to young drivers. Who better, after all, to
convey a sense of freedom and fun than Mr. Do Everything in One
Fantastic Day, Ferris Bueller himself—or, more accurately, his
portrayer, Matthew Broderick.
The concept and its multilayered execution earned American Honda and RPA
top honors in the Best Viral Campaign category in PR Daily’s Digital PR
& Social Media Awards.
PR Daily’s 2012 Digital PR and Social Media Awards were presented by Synaptic Digital. Learn more about Synaptic Digital here (pdf).
The “Matthew’s Day Off” promotion turned back the proverbial odometer
and had Broderick cruising in the newly redesigned CR-V, replete with
music from and other homages to the original movie.
The campaign included a Super Bowl commercial, which was heralded by a
YouTube teaser with a twist: The 10-second spot was unbranded. It
generated a torrent of speculation that Honda was behind it.
Honda stayed mum.
Then, the Monday before the Super Bowl, when its 60-second ad would air,
Honda posted extended versions of the commercial on Honda sites and on
Honda wasn’t done, though. It hid in the extended version what company
officials described as “Easter eggs”—little prizes for “Bueller”
aficionados to hunt for. There were references to the original movie,
and devotees were encouraged—and many needed little, if any,
prompting—to identify them. Many were obvious, but some were as subtle
as the appearance of Ferris’s vest in a store window.
Honda’s submission offered these results:
“Honda website traffic tripled during the Super Bowl activity. Honda was
the most-viewed Super Bowl video online, the No. 1 trending video on
YouTube, and the No. 1 shared commercial on Facebook and Twitter, and
overall gained more than 2.5 billion PR impressions.”
Honda's John Watts explains the genesis of the idea:
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Rob Reinalda is executive editor at Ragan Communications.