Honda hands data-driven European media brief to UM

honda 2Honda Motor Europe is planning to ramp up its data-driven digital transformation with the appointment of media agency UM following a six-month pitch process that brings the curtain down on the car marque’s five-year relationship with Dentsu.

The Japanese-owned company recently announced an accelerated “Electric Vision” strategy, which will see all of its mainstream European models switch to electric power by 2022, three years ahead of its previous 2025 goal.

This acceleration will see six electrified models launched over the next 36 months, with the Honda “e” and new hybrid-only “Jazz” leading the way.

UM has devised what it calls a data-first “Futureproof” response to the brief, with EMEA president Chris Skinner claiming Honda’s vision is digital transformation “at its best”.

He added: “They are using world-leading technology to build a more sustainable future and we couldn’t be happier to be joining them on such an exciting journey. During this pitch process our aim was to prove that UM’s offering is truly unique and that our ‘now and next’ approach to marketing, together with first class data solutions that could be integrated seamlessly with Honda’s own platforms, would make us the most progressive and future-facing agency they could work with.

“It’s been a hugely challenging year but we’ve emerged stronger than ever and this latest win is testament to that. I am so proud of the strength and resilience that UM people across the world have demonstrated and that our future-facing, data-focused and people orientated approach is truly resonating with the next generation of marketers.”

The transition of the account from Denstu – which first started working on the business in 2015 – will start immediately and work is expected to begin across all of Honda’s European markets in April.

According to Stastica figures, Europe is one of Honda’s smallest markets, with almost half of the car marque’s 4.8 million automobile sales being in Japan and other Asian countries in 2020, while the North American market accounted for about 38%.

The Volkswagen Group dominates the European car market, and accounted for around a quarter of new car registrations in the region between January and November 2020. Year-to-date, the automaker sold some 2.7 million units, roughly 63,700 units more than its two closest rivals, PSA and Renault, combined. Honda holds around 2% of the market, with sales of 133,000.

Even so, between January and November 2020, total passenger car sales in Europe decreased by about 26% to roughly 10.7 million units. Sales began to tank mid-March, amid the coronavirus pandemic in Europe. Year-on-year sales were still down 57% in May 2020, but car sales began to bounce back as economies reopened.

Month-on-month sales more than doubled in May and continued on its upward trajectory in June. Sales were back to normal levels in September and October, however, Covid outbreaks in the autumn of 2020 prevented a positive end to the year for the industry.

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