Flickr / Photo by Mike Mozart

How Honda Won The Superbowl

I have never been a huge fan of the Superbowl. My family is from South Africa where football is a baffling concept to most so we never really got in to the fandom of it all. But as I got older, the Superbowl became a means of fitting in to society. Going to a Superbowl party was how I made friends at my new high school. It is how I solidified friendships here at USC. But I never really went for the game. My bonding moments came between the plays, during the commercials. I loved seeing the creativity behind it all- probably stemming from my love for public relations. My favorite part of the night was trying to figure out which commercials would be the talk of the town the next day. This year, however, the Superbowl commercial that I believe is the winner aired one week before the big show.

The other day I was watching a television show on an app on my phone. When the commercials come on, I usually check my social media on my computer or take the time to get little things done. Very rarely does a commercial catch my eye and if it does, I usually never watch until the end. However this commercial changed all of that. As I was writing in my planner to schedule my week, a Honda commercial came on. In it, they explained that instead of spending millions of dollars on a commercial for the Superbowl, they were going to donate that money. Their donation methods however were very unique. They have a system set up based on the commercials that will be shown in the Superbowl that will determine the amount they donate at a time. For example for every commercial that has a celebrity, they will donate $500. When there is an explosion? $10,00. A baby or talking animals? $1,000. The list of potential donation criteria varies in price but includes every stereotypical commercial type from the past few years. They call it the “Helpful Bowl” and I believe it has won the Superbowl before it has even started.

Not only is this something consumers will be thinking about during the big game, but it is also something they can interact with. Honda has set up a portion of their website where consumers can interact with the “Helpful Bowl”. On their platforms, they are encouraging consumers to play along by creating a “scorecard” that consumers can use to tally up during a commercial and then submit their card at the end of the game. The more scorecards Honda receives, the more money they say they are willing to donate. From a consumer point of view, I absolutely love the fact that they are playing on all of the cliché commercials I have loved in the past and have now gotten me excited to see these types of commercials once again. As a good Samaritan, I admire Honda’s ambition to take the money that would typically be spent on a huge ad campaign during the Superbowl- something that has been frequently debated and criticized throughout society- and decided instead to put that money to good use and practice corporate social responsibility.

Finally, as a public relations student and future practitioner, I would have to give a standing ovation to this campaign. Not only have they garnered huge buzz before the game even starts, but I can already tell that they will take over the conversation during the Superbowl as well. Every time a consumer sees a commercial, something that companies are hoping will resonate and create an impression of their brand, consumers will instantly shift their focus the second the commercial is over to go and interact with the Honda “Helpful Bowl” scorecard. I already see the final score of the game and can start placing my bets now: Honda 1 – Everyone Else 0. What was once an ordinary February day to me has now become a must-see Public Relations event of the year.

Let the games begin!

Flickr / Photo by Mike Mozart