Backseat passengers in Honda’s 2018 Odyssey minivans can now stream over 2,000 movies from MGM’s Epix network, including the “James Bond” and “Star Trek” franchises, as the two companies announced a content deal on Wednesday. This marks the first time an OTT service is available directly through a connected vehicle’s rear-seat entertainment systems, as Variety notes. However, Honda owners will need to have an Epix subscription through a participating pay TV provider in order to access the content.
What Brands Need To Do
While it remains to be seen whether the partnership will actually result in increased subscriptions for the network, this deal between Honda and Epix could harbinger more similar partnerships between auto and entertainment brands to supply content for connected cars. Research firm McKinsey estimates that connected cars could account for 22% of all vehicles on the road by 2020, which is set to unleash an influx of additional media time and attention that brands can capitalize on to reach consumers. While it is still a few years off till the technology fully matures, smart brands should start thinking about how to conquer this emerging in-car media space now.
Honda is spicing up its latest 360-degree video effort with the help of spatial audio. The auto maker worked with the agency RPA to create a new 360-degree video Facebook ad for its CR-V model, which features three “sets” of scenarios, each with different audio backgrounds, that users can pan to, including a campfire, children playing in a park with a water hose, and a man doing some handy work in the yard of a suburban home. Honda leverages viewers’ Facebook data determines which of the three scenes will be the starting scenes to play.
What Brands Need To Do
The audio VR mixing feature is a relatively new capability from Facebook, and Honda is commendable for finding a clever way to use it to demonstrate the versatility of its vehicle. Spatial audio can contribute greatly to building a truly immersive experience and more brands developing branded VR experiences and 360-degree videos should consider using it to expand the perspectives of their content.
How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.
If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (email@example.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.
Header image courtesy of Honda’s Facebook Video
Honda and the UPS Store are both leveraging branded content to reach today’s ad-shunning consumers. The Japanese carmaker has a multi-year partnership with music video site Vevo to reach music fans who may also be potential car buyers. Honda worked with Vevo to launch Honda Stage, a combination of sponsored digital video content, music festivals, and the Honda Civic Tour, in 2014 to keep its brand in the forefront of the minds of music fans.
The UPS Store, on the other hand, ventures into branded content with an original YouTube series called “The Elevator Pitch,” developed on the learning that most of UPS’ business clients don’t have a business pitch ready. Each episode sends three contestants on an elevator ride where they pitch their businesses to Marcus Lemonis, the host of CNBC’s “The Profit,” and one is selected as the winner and awarded a $10,000 prize from UPS. The show, which launched on The UPS Store’s YouTube channel on Oct. 12, has so far racked up a total of over 45,000 views with three episodes posted.
What Brands Need To Do
As we discussed in the Ad Avoidance section in our Outlook 2016, well-executed branded content is one effective way to reach ad-weary consumers. UPS and Honda represent two distinct approaches that brands can take when it comes to distributing branded content: either distribute the content on your own branded channel or leverage an existing content distribution channel to reach a built-in audience. Both strategies have their pros and cons but as McDonald’s recent failed attempt at launching its own spin-off YouTube channel indicates, launching a new branded channel comes with higher risk.
Sources: AdWeek & AdAge
Honda is teaming up with media company Gannett to create and distribute its first virtual reality video content. Designed to let viewers experience the thrill of driving a Honda-powered, Dallara race car, the VR experience will be released on May 29 on both Honda’s own digital properties, as well as some major publisher sites in Gannett’s network, including USA Today and 92 local newspaper sites. The branded experience will also be available via USA Today’s VR Stories app.
What Brands Need To Do
While it’s not the first brand to develop a branded VR experience to engage with consumers, Honda’s initiative is notable for its deep collaboration with a major publisher to distribute its content. Previously, brands experimenting with VR content have mostly reserved their work for social channels or special events activations. As mainstream consumers become familiarized with VR and 360-degree content, thanks to the rapid development in both VR software and hardware, we expect more brands to start working closely with media partners to develop and distribute VR content.
Yesterday, Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance, which promised partnerships with the likes of Audi, GM, and Honda, and lent credence to the theories that automotive dashboards are a new major target area for technological development. Google is trying to meet that gap with Android: there will be Android-powered dashboards in cars as well as improvements to Android smartphones geared toward making them more car-friendly. At press time yesterday, it was unclear what those developments would look like, but today we have a very concrete example: Audi’s Smart Display. Clocking in at 10.2 inches, it’s an Android tablet that lives in your car and is designed with passengers in mind. At this point, the tablet appears to act as an Android-based command center for everything in the car, from Wi-Fi connection to media, navigation, and even temperature settings. It’s designed to sustain crashes, and can withstand the high temperatures of being left in a boiling car all afternoon on a summer’s day. This is but one manifestation of the Alliance, and expect more deep Android integration into these vehicles in the coming days, months, and years. The era of the connected car may very well be a physical reality, finally.
In perhaps one of the most innovative uses of Vine to date, Honda is responding – with Vine videos – to users who tweet with #wantnewcar, in real time. The videos are filmed on premises, at the same time the tweet comes in, customized to the twitter handle of the user that sent the tweet out. Though other companies like Urban Outfitters have turned to Vine for campaigns, this is a new step forward in real-time, creative advertising with the medium.