Honda Promo, Case study MILLION MILE JOE by RPA

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Industry Cars
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency RPA
Associate Creative Director J Barbush Associate Creative Director
Executive Creative Director Joe Baratelli
Art Director Brian Farkas
Copywriter Tylynne Mccauley
Editor Steve Bao, Scott Angel, Teddy Gersten
Released June 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Automotive and Transport
Product/Service: HONDA
Agency: RPA
Executive Creative Director: Joe Baratelli (RPA)
Group Creative Director: Jason Sperling (RPA)
Associate Creative Director: J Barbush (RPA)
Art Director: Brian Farkas (RPA)
Copywriter: Tylynne Mccauley (RPA)
Executive Producer: Gary Paticoff (RPA)
Senior Producer/Director: Mark Tripp (RPA)
Production Coordinator: Tracy Chaplin
Assistant Producer: Faye Armstrong (RPA)
Editorial ( Surprise Parade): (Butcher Edit)
Executive Producer: Rob Van (Butcher Edit)
Editor: Teddy Gersten (Butcher Edit)
Assistant: Zac Dych (Butcher Edit)
Editorial (Meet Joe): (Second Street Production / RPA)
Editor: Steve Bao (Second Street Productioi / RPA)
Editor: Scott Angel (Second Street Production / RPA)
Project Manager: Allison Kahan (RPA)
Technology Director: Scott Westerfield (RPA)
Media placement: Digital PR - Discovery News, Motor Trend, Wall Street Journal,,, Auto News TV - June 15, 2011
Media placement: Event / Digital PR - NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX News, Motor Trend, Washington Post, Discovery Channel, TIME Magazine, NPR, A - October 23, 2011 — October 29

Summary of the Campaign
When we met Joe LoCicero, of Norway, Maine, he was 70,000 miles away from a goal he’d been determined to reach for 15 years: rolling the odometer of his 1990 Honda Accord over 1m miles. We saw an opportunity to remind people of Honda’s reliability with one very special owner.

We called him Million Mile Joe.

Through social media, we got people to follow Joe’s journey and cheer for him along the way. As he reached the millionth mile, we got his whole hometown together to throw him a surprise parade in his honor.

The campaign received a great deal of press, but that’s not the only reason for the Million Mile Joe story to be submitted into the PR Lions category. We told a genuine story about an average guy doing something extraordinary, and it inspired people to connect with him. Joe’s accomplishment not only banded loyal Honda owners together, but also won the hearts and minds of non-Honda owners. He received more than 6,000 personal congratulatory messages from all over the world via Facebook, email and YouTube, and even handwritten letters through a PO box we set up for him.

The Situation
One of Honda's key benefits is reliability. And no-one exemplifies this more than Joe LoCicero, who was on a mission to drive his 1990 Accord 1m miles - the equivalent of 40 times around the world —with the original engine and transmission, and, most impressively, in a state where weather conditions make it nearly impossible to maintain any vehicle for that long.

The Goal
1. Make Joe famous by getting his accomplishment noticed;
2. Tell a story that would inspire people to cheer for him;
3. Reward Joe in an unexpected and emotional way, one that would captivate any audience, even non-Honda owners;
4. Pull it off on a paltry media budget.

The Strategy
1.Tell the genuine story of an exceptional Honda owner. Make the story more about Joe than Honda;
2. Get people to follow Joe and cheer him on;
3. Celebrate his accomplishment in an over-the-top way, unexpected by Joe;
4. Share the celebration with the world.

We introduced 'Million Mile Joe' to our Facebook community, where people followed his progress for 5 months through a series of videos and status updates. We told Joe he would be attending a small press-conference after he rolled over the millionth mile. We invited the local press, alerting them of Joe’s accomplishment and that we would be giving him a new car. Unbeknownst to Joe and the media, we got his hometown together for a surprise parade in his honor. It featured local marching-bands, floats, giant banners sporting Joe's face, an airplane banner, over-the-top costumed characters, and even a giant, human-powered odometer. At the end, Miss Maine handed Joe the keys to a new 2012 Honda Accord. Joe was surprised.

Documented Results
We told an authentic story, celebrating Joe and his accomplishment in an over-the-top yet genuine way. We allowed people to follow his journey, cheer him on, congratulate him and share in his happiness. The event made the local news, and was then picked up nationally by ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and FOX News. Joe appeared on national television shows like Good Morning America and The Early Show, and was interviewed on more than 21 radio programs.

This low-budget social-media campaign garnered over 44m earned-media impressions in only a week. Campaign videos received over 650,000 YouTube views, and Joe became the number 4 top news story of the year in the state of Maine.