RPA Takes Honda’s Electric Car To N.Y.

A new print campaign helps clear the path for Honda’s EV Plus electric vehicle to hit the Big Apple.
American Honda agency Rubin Postaer and Associates created the campaign, which will break next month in New York City as well as California, where the car has been available for the last 18 months. Newspaper-only ads will likely run in New York, although the media schedule has not been finalized, according to agency and client officials.
The first magazine ad is scheduled to break in the July 20 California edition of The New Yorker and will subsequently run in other regional editions of upscale national magazines including Smithsonian, Outside and Architectural Digest.
The ads target readers who are “predisposed to drive an electric vehicle,” said Deborah Lopez-Pappalau, account executive at the Santa Monica, Calif., agency.
A magazine ad shows the toylike EV Plus, which runs on nickel metal hydride batteries, plugged into a wall socket like a night-light. Copy reads, “The electric car from Honda. Clean yet practical, it seats four and makes a statement without making a sound.” A toll-free number is listed for readers to “unplug one” for themselves.
“The goal is to tell people who are interested in [leasing] electric vehicles that Honda makes them,” said Robert Bienenfeld, manager of electric vehicle sales for American Honda. “For those not interested in leasing one, [the campaign] makes a positive statement about Honda.”
Honda introduced the car in New York earlier this month, with one dealership offering it for lease. The company plans to lease about 300 units altogether. So far, 162 have been leased in California during what Honda calls an “evaluation” period.
The ad campaign’s creative team included creative director and principal Larry Postaer, copywriter Tim O’Donnell and art director Ed Schumacher.
RPA broke its first ad for EV Plus during the January 1997 Super Bowl broadcast.