Viewers to talk to Honda specialists through digital TV
Visiting a car dealer from the comfort of your own sofa takes a major step forward to becoming reality as this week Honda showcases its "The Honda Dealer of the future" pilot scheme.
How will it work?
Imagine an Interactive viewer sitting at home watching an advertisement for a Honda. The prompt comes up on the screen for the viewer to press the red button and then, from a list of options can choose to talk, live, to a dealer who will appear on the television screen. The dealer can show them round the product, discuss options, technicalities and price and then, if the viewer wants, book a test drive.
Who is it for?
The object is naturally about making Honda accessible to a wider audience and getting Honda closer to all consumers - especially new ones who may be unfamiliar with the brand, but Honda also feels it will specifically benefit:
1) People who might feel intimidated about walking into a dealership and would prefer to research the brand in familiar surroundings - but would still rather have a conversation than research on the Internet. It is thought that this will prove extremely popular with women.
2) Time starved professionals - familiar with accessing information at the touch of a button.
3) Early adopters of new technology.
4) People who want the ultimate in convenience.
Simon Thompson, Head of Marketing at Honda explains the benefits of the interaction:
"Because they can talk to a real person, it immediately becomes more engaging and the brand experience is extremely positive. The beauty of this service is that there is no set path for the consumer. They choose what they want to see during their conversation - you don’t get more consumer-centric than that through a mass medium!"
This is a first for any automotive manufacturer - and very close to reality. Honda expects the first "Dealers of the Future" to be ready by the end of next March.
The service has been developed by Zip Television. Zip is responsible for all of Honda’s interactive TV activity, including recent interactive TV campaigns for Honda IMA and Honda Diesel.
Can the dealer see the viewer? No the dealer is talking directly into a camera - so it is as if they are looking at the viewer - but the viewer’s privacy is not intruded in any way.
How do they communicate? At the moment it would be via a phone line; when technology catches up with Honda’s idea, it will be directly via the T.V.Published 3 December 2004