Launching the Honda Dream Factory

Amplify founder Jonathan Emmins reveals the thinking behind an innovative new campaign to promote the launch of the Honda CR-Z.

Launching the Honda Dream Factory
Other car brands have tried, and in many cases, failed to deliver a campaign that successfully reaches the heart of the urban market.  When we were asked by Honda to take their sports hybrid coupe to this audience, we wanted to avoid the pitfalls others had fallen into.

Stage one was to get the Client comfortable with the audience; what, as a brand, they could legitimately do and just as importantly, not do. From experience and research we knew this audience loved Honda’s Power of Dreams ethos but, until now, hadn’t felt there was a relevant car for them.

We took the three key traits of the CR-Z, and translated them into values that appeal to this audience. Sporty became fun, hybrid became modern conscience and coupe became good design. In line with The Power of Dreams philosophy, we wanted to celebrate those ‘do-ers’ who represented one or more of those traits, and inspire others to follow their own dreams.

Rather than creating a campaign then marketing to this audience, we created a campaign with them. The whole process was about creating conversations, getting our audience excited and involved, giving something back and inspiring them to do the talking for us.

We identified six ‘Cultural Leaders’ - established figureheads who have succeeded in their own fields:

-    Eugenie Harvey - We Are What we Do
-    Shane Walter - OneDotZero
-    Danny Miller - Church of London
-    Mandi Lennard – Mandi’s Basement
-    King Adz – Film maker and writer
-    Norio Tomobe - Project Leader, Honda

Together we identified the UK’s brightest innovators, or ‘Cultural Engineers’; 20 artists, photographers, designers, publishers and environmentalists – all of whom are part of the world Honda wanted to target, from DJ and broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake to the designer Tom Podkolinski.

These individuals and their networks provide a core of the very audience we wanted to target. For this audience these networks are the modern day media channels; and they are listened to all the more intently when news comes from respected peers telling a story their way. ?

All this talent needed a home and so came the development of some key campaign properties.  The first was the hub www.dreamfactoryuk.com, a digital showcase and home for Cultural Leaders and Engineers’ work. 

The Dream Factory exhibition became the second focal point for activity. 400 people attended the opening night at London’s Dray Walk Gallery, which featured art, music, film and one-off commissions from the artists.

Guests were given a copy of the 2010 Dream Factory annual, an exclusive, short run book which profiles the Cultural Engineers and celebrates the power of dreams.  The focus for the book was on quality; of design, of imagery, of words so that, again, more than a brand marketing exercise, it becomes a must-have item in its own right.
A series of workshops delivered by the Cultural Engineers will follow, providing once-in-a-lifetime chances for our audience to engage and connect on the topics they are passionate about.

The sessions are now happening all over the UK.  Held by Paulina Bozek, creator of PlayStation’s SingStar, environmentalist John Grant, arts network Agents of Change, artist Kevin Harman and Tom Podkolinski, lead designer of Finisterre.

All of our artists have given their time for free because they believe in The Dream Factory ethos of open conversations, sharing knowledge to inspire innovation. Simon Berry, of Colalife, tells how his project has been shaped because he put it out there early on. People he’s never met are helping him drive something that could change the world.

Where the campaign really stands up is that, rather than ‘chequebook marketing’ where talent is paid to attach their brand to another, these guys are the campaign. They’re the ones taking the workshops, talking to the audience through blogs, Twitter and in their real-world networks. So the message is organically and credibly spread between peers.

What’s really exciting about working with Honda is they understand the importance of keeping the conversation going. The Dream Factory won’t end once the car is launched. That’s why the look and feel of the campaign has been left ‘un-crafted’. It may be used in future for other launches but will continue in the meantime, building the conversation for Honda, regardless. ‘The Dream Factory’ isn’t about quick chats, it’s about ongoing dialogue.

To view the campaign, visit www.dreamfactoryuk.com