You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda
Ad campaigns are the first lines of interaction with customers about a new product. Before you can buy something you’d better be well informed and excited about making said purchase.
So when Kihachiro Kawashima opened American Honda inside a reclaimed photo supply store in Los Angeles, California, he’d hoped of selling their large motorcycles to leather-wearing brawny Americans in the 1960s.
What happened next was a series of recalls that ultimately made Kawashima take back every single bike he’d sold to the public. He offered them compensation and decided that the 50cc bikes he’d been holding in the back room had to hit the sales floor to keep them afloat.
This is where his genius comes in. He’d noticed that the $250 scooter was hit amongst college students, women and urban dwellers. People who needed efficient, compact transportation between study halls, meetings or just a romp on a Saturday morning—the anti-motorcycle rider, more or less.
The campaign we share with you today broke several social barriers in its day. Women riding a motorcycle solo, men as their passengers, happy college couples, and so on. Thus spawning the catchphrase, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”
Kawashima’s decision to sell the 50cc bikes ultimately saved American Honda and paved the way for the company to start importing cars to America.