2011 Honda Odyssey Appeals to the `Me’ in Gen X and Y

October 16, 2010/Steve Tackett

MOTOR MATTERS FREEWHEELING BY HOLLY REICH

The 2011 Honda Odyssey is a big deal for the company. And it’s not just because Honda spiced up the minivan.
“Getting 28 miles per gallon on the highway and seating eight people is pretty remarkable,” says Chris Naughton, Northeast Regional Manager Public Relations for Honda.
The 2011 Odyssey has also been enhanced with the addition of some first-time features, like blind spot technology and a 16.3-inch split-screen rear display. In fact, more than 50 new standard and available features have been added for the 2011 Odyssey to increase comfort, convenience and the fun factor. We asked Naughton if minivans are cool.
“There’s a lot of activity in the minivan market with refreshes and design. It’s still a significant segment with large volume players,” he replied, noting that the Odyssey is cross-shopped against Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. However, Honda is getting the word out that the minivan is far more than just a family hauler. Odyssey is increasing its aura by growing its audience to include mommy bloggers, while going large into the world of Facebook and now tying in with Lego.
“It’s not something we have done in the past,” said Tom Peyton, Honda Brand Manager, who remarked that tie-ins with NFL Football and the Disney Channel are also planned.
“It’s a real sort of watershed moment for minivans,” he said. One reason for potential growth is that people are coming out of big Sport Utility Vehicles and wanting something different. Also, children of baby boomers are having their own kids.
“Gen X and Gen Y (30-somethings) are coming into childbearing age. We figure that if we do the marketing right we can dispel some of the `soccer mom’ stigma.”
As a result, advertising for the Odyssey is taking on a more creative edge. Three new spots shot in Downtown Los Angeles are called “Rocker Dad,” “Serenity” and “Fantasy.”
Rocker Dad kicks off with Judas Priest music from the 1980s, featuring the decade’s signature visual effects. “Why 80s?” we asked. Peyton responded: “Gen Y grew up in the 80s — they are still 80s at heart.”
“Serenity is more female-oriented,” he explained. The ad shows a woman coming out of a store who sees her Odyssey inside a rainbow, super imposed with dream-like lily pads, fawns, and deer. The interior of the minivan is revealed as a spa-like environment with yoga playing on a wide-screen TV and piles of fluffy towels.
“Her vehicle is meant to relax and destress — the ad represents all of the car’s aspects that will appeal to her,” he noted.
And lastly, the Fantasy spot features a 30-something couple returning to their Odyssey after a night out to dinner. Walking hand-in-hand toward the minivan, the moon frames the car and rose petals flutter on the door. Inside the 2011 Odyssey are dishes of chocolate and a giant clamshell filled with oysters. You get the picture, right? The stuff that baby-making dreams are made of.
“It’s romantic,” Peyton confirmed. “We’re showing that this is a good date-night vehicle. It’s what people in their 30s with a couple of kids would fantasize about. At the end of the day this is a generation that’s been a lot about me.” And Honda is appealing to the “me” in them. — Holly Reich, Motor Matters

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010

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