An example of a Super Bowl ad that had immense marketing power

While Snickers, Doritos, Go Daddy, Budweiser and the other usual suspects get props for their entertaining Super Bowl ads, I award my top prize to an ad that few are discussing: Honda’s “Everybody Knows Somebody…”

In case you missed it:  The spot opens with a still shot of a couple leaning against a Honda vehicle, parked beside a lake. A women’s voice says, “My boyfriend has one.” As the image slides to the left, a man’s voice (presumably the “boyfriend”) says, “My older sister has one.” A new image slides into the screen with a young woman (the “older sister” and two young children). A child’s voice says, “She has two kids.” A woman’s voice (the older sister with the two children) says, “My college roommate…” as a new photo of a different woman with kids slides into view. Then a photo of an older couple appears as another woman (the college roommate) says, “Our neighbors…”

And on it goes…A scrolling film strip of different people — different ages, various races, appearing in front of different size homes, standing next to their Hondas — naming people they know who “have one.”

“Our neighbors…My daughter…My husband has one…The fella I work with…on so on…”

As the filmstrip ends, the spokesperson declares: “Everybody knows somebody who loves a Honda. Who do you know?”

Then the address for Honda’s Facebook page appears on the screen:

Go there and you’ll see a page with more than 300,000 fans (as of Feb. 10)!

I love this ad for several reasons. First, in a simple but brilliant way, it uses social proof to persuade people to choose Honda. “Social proof” is the persuasion principle that says people tend to follow the crowd — even those who like to think of themselves as rebels.

Everybody knows somebody who loves a Honda. And the ad represents the enormous range of Honda-lovers — young, old, rich, poor, black, white. Marketing that effectively employs social proof  dares the target to make a choice: Are you with us or are you going to stand outside the social norm? The tug is strong, and Honda applies it subtly but forcefully in this ad.

Secondly, the ad has a great call to action: Go to our facebook page and share your story with us. I didn’t check Honda’s fan page after the game, but I’m sure there were far fewer than the 300,000+ fans Honda has today.

Honda practiced what we so often preach: Your marketing should not be solely about extending your brand or enhancing your image. With interactive technology, you can make targets act immediately with simple, low-risk calls to action.

People aren’t running from their houses after the Super Bowl to buy a Honda, and the company knows that. But Honda also knows that people who might eventually buy — the people we call the “maybes” — will be warmer prospects if the company can interact with them. So Honda asked them to do a simple thing that didn’t require people to sit with a car salesman or take much risk — visit our facebook page.

Now Honda can communicate with those 300,000+ fans. Without that call to action, Honda would have had no connection with these people until and unless they chose to act.

That’s a great example of using social proof to persuade people to act, and using a simple call-to-action to connect with and market to the maybes

Want to know more about social proof and other persuasion principles? Check out 7 Proven Ways to Make Your Marketing Messages More Persuasive, available for download at

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