I told you Honda is not immune to scrutiny on this site, despite the fact that I’m a big fan of the company.
While I don’t have a lot of websites for Honda to talk about in this project (they’ve actually maintained a pretty strong digital strategy over the years), there are a few. And today we’ll look at three.
Specifically, we’re going to check out some subdomains — sites that start with something.honda.com, instead of the typical www.
And a spoiler alert: this is a bit of a softball article as the cars featured in these subdomains are (mostly) still in the current Honda lineup.
We’ll start with this ad for the Accord from March of 2008:
Ah, the Accord Coupe. Great car. I had one. It was a 2005 model. I never should have sold it.
It didn’t have XM satellite radio, but that’s fine as having 100+ channels of radio seems like overkill when you probably only listen to two or three at the most.
Anyway, the text at the bottom suggests we visit Accord.Honda.com for more:
We’ve already talked about how Honda typically just references Honda.com in their advertising. So it’s a bit refreshing to see something a little more specific with this subdomain.
Honda no longer makes the Accord Coupe. But the Accord Sedan is still an important model for the company. So where does Accord.Honda.com go today?
See, I told you this was going to be a softball test. Honda still makes the Accord so it only makes sense for Accord.Honda.com to link through to a relevant page.
It’s worth noting that Accord.Honda.com isn’t actually the site that opens up. Instead, it redirects to Automobiles.Honda.com/Accord. I don’t recall if it has always done that, but it’s still a strong showing of digital consistency.
Alphabetically, let’s go to the smallest Honda in the current lineup, the Fit:
Honda introduced the Fit to the United States market in 2006, so this two-page ad appeared shortly thereafter. I’m not sure about equating a frugal people-mover to a scaly insect, but I’m also not some powerful ad executive, so what do I know?
Oh! I do know websites. And the ad above gives us this:
Fit.Honda.com is tucked into the very lower right-hand corner of the ad, below the H logo.
This one’s a bit tricky as 2020 was the last model year for the Fit in the United States. The fully redesigned 2021 model won’t be making it to our shores (unfortunately – but I understand the business logic behind the choice).
So what happens to Fit.Honda.com here in 2021, even though we don’t get the 2021 Fit?
There are still likely plenty of 2020 Fits on dealer lots, so it makes sense that Fit.Honda.com is still a valid site to promote the little car (and, like the example above, it actually redirects to Automobiles.Honda.com/Fit).
The screengrab above was taken in June of 2020. But I see that the site looks exactly the same well into 2021 here (still advertising the 2020 Fit).
I should make a note to myself to follow up on this in a year or so. Once the Fit is really no longer sold in the United States, what will happen to Fit.Honda.com? It looks like you might have some choices to make, Honda people.
Our third and final Honda site (for today) is for the Ridgeline, Honda’s mid-size truck offering:
The ad above is for the first-generation Ridgeline and appeared in a January 2012 magazine.
No, the Ridgeline is not a body-on-frame V-8 powered torque monster. But it is a very capable truck for the vast majority of people who really need a truck. Personally, I’m not much of a truck guy, but I love our Pilot SUV. I think the enclosed space is, in some ways, more practical than truck bed, and the thing is just so smooth and civilized.
But if I were in the market for a truck, the Ridgeline would be my choice. And to find out more about the Honda’s truck, I could go to Ridgeline.Honda.com:
The Ridgeline is now onto its second generation, and it actually just went through a mid-cycle refresh. So it only makes sense that this is what we get when we open Ridgeline.Honda.com today:
Well, okay, it’s not today. The screengrab is from June of 2020, before the truck’s 2021 mild refresh. But it’s still a valid example. The truck is still sold. The site is still valid. This is all good.
And, once again, yes, Ridgeline.Honda.com redirects to a slightly different site at Automobiles.Honda.com/Ridgeline. But that’s the whole point — Honda hasn’t let Ridgeline.Honda.com die.
So that’s three subdomains that all still redirect to valid sites several years later. Is all this praise because Honda is great and can do no wrong in my eyes? No, not exactly.
I would argue that Honda has maintained an orderly digital strategy and it shows when their old ads are put to the test years later.
Well done, Honda people!
Wait? What’s that you say? Honda isn’t always perfect with its digital strategy? We’re going to see some lax examples later, you say? Hmmm… spoilers!