Is Honda Paying NYT to Like Its New Web Campaign?

Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor...

The NYT has a long, highly complimentary article about a new campaign from Honda featuring a series of what are being called documentaries but are really dressed-up infomercials:

The webisodes feature employees of American Honda Motor in realms like engineering, design and safety, along with executives like Takeo Fukui, president and chief executive at Honda Motor, the parent company. Some more recognizable names also appear in the shorts, among them Danica Patrick, who races Honda cars; the actor and screenwriter Christopher Guest, who drives an FCX Clarity; and Orson Scott Card, the science fiction author.

These pieces each run around seven minutes and so far the first three that are available all look and sound nearly identical.  The shooting style is something like a very poor man’s Ken Burns with a touch of knockoff Errol Morris

The NYT says the ads…

are low-key in their promotion of Honda and are polished and absorbing enough to make a viewer (almost) forget they are sponsored shorts…

This is when one begins to wonder if this article is a paid placement. These are so completely transparent as advertising that either the author of the article, Stuart Elliot, is shockingly easy to distract or he was getting a kickback.

Aside from being shamelessly advertorial from start to finish, there is absolutely nothing about these pieces that are engaging or would encourage me to pass them along to friends.  They are too long by half and seem to be made longer only to make the (failed) impression that they are more than just long ads.

These sorts of efforts only highlight the failure of the major advertising agencies to leverage the power of the internet and the willingness of big companies to blindly listen to them.

Honda. please find someone else to handle your digital advertising.  This one is pure FAIL.

See for yourself, here.

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