Acura’s animated racing series aims to attract young high-end drivers

Diving Brief:

  • Acura premiered an animated series at the Sundance Film Festival to promote its Type S line of vehicles, according to a statement. The automaker returns as presenting sponsor of the event, which recently moved to a fully virtual formatfor the 12th consecutive year.
  • “Chiaki’s Journey” tells the story of Chiaki, an aspiring racer mentored by her uncle Noboru and who comes up against rival Erich Kang on the track. Four 60-second “episodes” are available on YouTube and appear on partner platforms Crunchyroll – an anime streaming service – Jalopnik, Gizmodo, IMDb, The Takeout, AV Club and Kotaku.
  • Developed with agency Mullen Lowe Los Angeles, the campaign has media support on TikTok, Snapchat, Reddit and Twitter, as well as placements on 250 movie screens and out-of-home channels in major US markets like New York and Los Angeles. Angeles. Luxury brand Honda is trying to bridge a pocket of pop culture that is growing in popularity in the mainstream, thanks in part to advertising efforts.

Overview of the dive:

Acura is working to connect with the growing number of consumers who watch anime, an animation medium that has long occupied a dedicated niche, but is beginning to garner broader interest from audiences in the United States. and abroad. The marketer is specifically looking to appeal to the next generation of high-end riders – younger people who may not engage as much with traditional media channels – with a story meant to embody the brand’s challenger positioning. .

Demand for anime content globally has surged 118% in the past two years, according to Parrot Analytics data cited in Axios, potentially reflecting how the pandemic streaming boom has pushed viewers to sample different genres. This push was accompanied by deals struck by major media players: AMC Networks earlier this month acquired content and merchandising specialist animates Sentai Holdings, LLC.

Rather than airing a single, anime-style commercial, Acura attempts to replicate the feel of a full-fledged series through four short videos that tell a richer narrative while integrating the brand’s Type S offerings. These include the 2022 MDX Type S SUV, the 2022 TLX Type S sedan, and the NSX Type S sports car. The 2023 Acura Integra also makes a “cameo” appearance.

“Chiaki’s Journey” features other Japanese cultural connections that may resonate with consumers. The videos are recorded by Nemophila, an all-female metal band based in Tokyo. Acura is also playing a bigger multicultural role. All episodes of the series have Spanish versions to connect with Hispanic drivers, a key market for the automaker.

The campaign is part of Acura’s “Less Talk, More Action” platform, which emphasizes cinematic marketing. Other efforts under the banner include a 60 second TV spot as of 2020 shot in the style of a black and white silent film.

“Chiaki’s Journey” joins a growing list of branded content that draws inspiration from anime and manga comics. Announcing the return of its limited-run nacho fries last summer, Taco Bell released an anime-style ad and digital comic called “Fry Force.” The concept referenced the mecha and kaiju genres.