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Honda's 'Happy Days' Leans on Web

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LOS ANGELES American Honda Motor's annual "Happy Honda Days" holiday campaign relies more on the Web this year than ever.

Using Christmas greeting cards as a theme, the integrated program includes four broadcast spots running through year's end, as well as outdoor and radio. But the Web has graduated from a sidelight in previous years' holiday pushes to a critical component.

"We've gone from simple banners with offers to a campaign that really ties in with the television campaign visually," said Fern Shlauter, management supervisor at RPA's interactive group, who's been working on the national campaign at the Santa Monica, Calif., agency for the past five years. "Our online efforts are bigger than ever before, with a much more extensive Web presence," she said.

Online work includes banner ads in which a succession of moving vehicle appear to be pulling Santa's sleigh. Copy reads, "On Accord! On Odyssey! On Ridgeline!" and "Save on Honda before they dash away."

"We've always had digital integration with this event," said Shlauter. "But this year the work will make the online experience bigger, more impactful. By focusing more on the back end, the [online] cards enhance the experience and make it more sticky."

Set to a rockabilly-guitar versions of seasonal carols such as "Deck the Halls" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," 30-second spots show Currier and Ives-style cards with shots of picturesque buildings and country bridges opening to reveal soft-focus Hondas against blown-out white backdrops, framed in red trim and holly detail.

The creative team at the agency also included Jon Yarbrough, senior vice president, and associate creative directors Mark Patton and Bill Halladay.