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Why Honda Decided to Go Big on TikTok for This Year's Civic Tour

The auto brand is engaging with music fans online and through live, in-person performances.

Honda Promotes This Year's Civic Tour on TikTok in a Big Way
Headlined by the new pop group The Future X, the Honda Civic Tour kicked off July 27 at The Roxy in Los Angeles and will wrap up on the Honda Stage at the Austin City Limits music festival in October.
Photo: Courtesy of Honda

After going virtual last year with a performance by H.E.R., the Honda Civic Tour returned this summer with live shows complemented by extensive TikTok content.

Headlined by the new pop group The Future X, the seven-city U.S. tour kicked off July 27 at The Roxy in Los Angeles and will wrap up on the Honda Stage at the Austin City Limits music festival in October.

Thanks to the partnership with TikTok, Jessika Laudermilk, senior manager of Honda marketing, explained that the auto brand has been able to merge virtual reach with in-person musical performances to create a hybrid experience. “It’s kind of like the best of both worlds,” she said.

Honda Promotes This Year's Civic Tour on TikTok in a Big WayThe group designed a custom wrap for the 2023 Civic Type R. Fans can check out the Civic and the new HR-V at the shows.Photo: Courtesy of HondaThe Future X is a pop group made up of three singers and four dancers, all discovered on TikTok. They were cast by music bigwig Simon Fuller after auditioning on the app through a hashtag challenge. The Honda Civic Tour is the group’s first in-person tour across the U.S. “The younger buyers and consumers are consuming music in different ways,” Laudermilk said, so it makes sense Honda would embrace the social media platform for this year’s concert tour.

She added that the goal of the Civic Tour—as well as the brand’s other music and gaming programming—is to reach “multicultural, younger buyers” and to create an “authentic relationship with those young first-time buyers.” (The Honda Civic is No. 1 in sales among millennials and Gen Z.)

In addition to the Civic Tour, which launched in 2001, the brand invests in its broader music initiative through music festival partnerships, including Austin City Limits, as well as offering online music programming, performances, digital content, artist interviews, and more.

In addition to the performances, the group as a whole, as well as the individual members, are creating viral TIkTok content, “whether it's leading up to one of the actual shows or getting ready or driving the vehicles to the shows,” Laudermilk explained. For example, the group recorded an impromptu performance on the New York City subway before their show at The Bowery Ballroom on Aug. 7, as well as a post showcasing the best locations for photos in NYC—driving from spot to spot in a Honda, of course. 

Laudermilk added that the shared content combined with the in-person attendance (tickets to the shows are free) equaled an estimated audience reach of over 46 million for the LA show. Plus, the group followed in the Honda Civic Tour tradition of custom-designing a Honda vehicle; fans can check out The Future X’s customized 2023 Civic Type R throughout the tour.

The auto brand has also recruited local TikTok artists to perform as opening acts at various tour stops, which represented seven key markets for Honda, including dealer ad associations and “buzzing music scenes,” Laudermilk said. The tour will end in October at Austin City Limits, with The Future X performing on the Honda-sponsored stage, a first for the tour franchise. 

“The Civic Tour has always been about trying to help break bands and artists since its inception over 20 years ago," Laudermilk noted, "so being able to provide [The Future X] this platform to help them grow with their fan base is a great element of this year's tour.”

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