Today’s trip through the history of the Internet takes us to two sites promoting Acura’s sports cars, the NSX and Integra.
I should point out, the OG plan for this article was only to focus on the NSX. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I found a very similar ad for the Integra as I rechecked a bunch of my magazine clippings.
So here’s the NSX ad:
Note that this is a half-page ad, not a two-page spread. That always struck me as unusual, even back in the early 2000s.
It’s unusual because half-page ads were not commonly done by major manufacturers in these automotive magazines. Yes, it happened every now and then, but the big automakers appeared to have enough room in their budgets to splurge on full-page ads, two-page spreads and even more elaborate advertisements. Half-page ads (and even smaller creatives) were the domain of small companies and lower-priority projects that didn’t have as many advertising dollars to spend.
And then there’s the URL the ad promotes:
NSXbyAcura.com? That’s also unusual. Typically, Acura ads simply pointed to Acura.com.
It’s for these reasons that I always wondered if this was actually an ad produced by Acura’s (Honda’s) ad agency or ad team. Stylistically, it’s also dissimilar to other Acura ads of the time. As a consumer (especially anyone planning to buy a semi-exotic sports car) this kind of dissonance is a bit unnerving.
Is it really an ad by Acura? Or is it from some other entity that’s trying to capitalize on the success of the NSX? Maybe an exotic car rental company? Or an outfit that facilitates the purchase of high-end cars? Or a reseller of NSXes? It just seemed a little off.
That is, until I encountered this ad a few weeks ago while reviewing some of my other magazine clippings:
This ad from March 2000, featuring the more affordable Integra compact car, looks more cohesive to the Acura advertising that existed back in the day.
Again, this is a half-page ad, just like the NSX ad above.
And this ad uses a similar “…byacura.com” URL. This time, it’s www.IntegraByAcura.com:
Okay! This is good information. Maybe these URLs were, indeed, part of Acura’s marketing back in the day. And, yes a check of the Internet Archive shows that these sites appeared to be legitimate Acura marketing (though trying to navigate those sites in a modern browser is not a great experience).
Checking WhoIs.com today doesn’t give a lot of information. All the information about nsxbyacura.com seems to be obscured. However, the information about integrabyacura.com does seem to have some Honda reference in the Name Servers.
So I suspect that, yes, Honda (Acura) did indeed own these sites at one point.
What about today? Well, this is what you get when going to NSXbyAcura.com some 20 years later:
Yeah, it’s not surprising that it’s dead these days. However, Acura now sells the new NSX so if they still own the site, it could be put to better use.
Meanwhile, here’s what www.IntegraByAcura.com looks like today:
Ooof, same thing. Not good. And, again, WhoIs.com does make a reference to Honda in the Name Servers, so I suspect the company still has some control over the site.
If anything, I can give Honda (Acura) a pass on this one since they haven’t made an Integra in about two decades. Still, it’s a little disappointing to see these old sites die.