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Honda develops iTV link to dealerships

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LONDON - Honda is seeking to radically change customer contact with car showrooms by piloting an interactive ad that enables prospective car buyers to speak directly to dealerships via TV.

The first ever prototype of the service, known as 'The Honda Dealer of the Future', is being revealed for the first time this week.

The direct-to-dealer function, which was devised by interactive TV specialist Zip TV, will initially be available only via advertising on cable channels, as the interaction is currently limited by the lack of a return-path via digital satellite.

Viewers interacting with the ads will be able to ask the dealer questions directly through their TV, as well as being able to find out specification details and book a test-drive.

Honda UK marketing director Simon Thompson said that the ads marked the first stage of opening up an "always-on" communication channel for consumers.

"We are responding to the Honda's challenging marketing strategy," explains Lee Goodger, Account Director at Zip Television. "Honda wants consumers to experience the brand at every step of the buying journey and building a one-on-one relationship is paramount. By using interactive TV, we can be incredibly creative, making Honda accessible to a wide range of customers, expanding viewer expectations of iTV and delivering a positive viewer experience."

Thompson added that as Honda now receives the majority of customer enquiries via the internet, it made perfect sense to shift its marketing focus to online and interactive TV. Next year, all Honda's ads will contain an interactive element.

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