Honda, Little League Baseball Head to Prime Time

As Little League Baseball goes prime-time this month, American Honda Motor Co. is there with a campaign to promote its sponsorship of the organization.

Three TV commercials created by Rubin Postaer and Associates in Santa Monica, Calif., center around a kindhearted Little League coach encouraging his losing team. The ads progress through the team’s season, and the last spot has the coach cleaning out the dugout. To the sentimental strains of piano music, he discovers a gift-wrapped box containing an autographed ball from the team.

The spots are tagged “The power of dreams,” which last year was made Honda’s global mantra. They are set to run Aug. 11-26 on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.

The Torrance, Calif.-based car maker has sponsored the organization for five years, but this is the first time the Little League Baseball World Series and Honda’s sponsorship ads will appear on prime-time TV, said Honda evp Dick Colliver.

The sponsorship, Colliver said, is “a way to get our message out to young kids and their families in a very upscale, positive way. It’s a good, wholesome sport.”

The spots are meant to build the Honda brand. However, in one spot, kids pile into a Honda Odyssey minivan after stopping at a pizza parlor.

RPA evp and general manager Denny Remsing said it is a good fit. “Little League Baseball and minivans go together perfectly, and we have minivans to sell,” he said. “Subtly, we want people to think kindly of the Honda minivan when they come to market to buy.”

RPA also handled the media buy. Spending was undisclosed.