It's Halloween, folks. And you know what that means? Time to roll out the "spooky" marketing stunts! The yearly onslaught of Halloween-themed viral ads has become a tradition that's getting up there with super-clever-but-actually-lame April Fools' Day pranks on the list of overused holiday marketing strategies.
One of the more ridiculous entries in this year's jumble comes from Honda. Taking a cue from the equally ridiculous (and, God help us, popular) trend of "ghost-hunting" TV shows, Honda decided to perform—and film—an exorcism. On a car.
The backstory: "Ernie," the owner of a 1996 Honda Civic, posted a comment on Honda's Facebook page saying his car was "haunted." Sensing the opportunity for a Halloween marketing ploy, Honda called up Erik Vanlier, a "real ghost hunter" (Honda's definition of "real" may be synonymous with "has a website") to investigate the source of the strange voices and "touching" reported by Ernie.
Armed with a tape recorder and an alternate version of reality, Vanlier manages to converse with the "spirits" (and/or random AM radio snippets) inhabiting Ernie's vehicle, and then proceeds to "cleanse" it by burning some sage and pleading, "Spirits, I need you to leave, OK?" Apparently, it works: After getting back in the car, Ernie tells the camera, "It definitely feels like something's not here anymore."
In the aftermath of such decisive triumph, it's hard to choose a single winner, but we're going to go with the spirits who have finally been released from 17 long years of haunting the backseat of a Honda Civic.
Congratulations, you guys, and Happy Halloween!
Client: American Honda Motor Co.
Manager of Honda & Acura Social Marketing: Alicia Jones