Sales & Marketing

Formula 1 engines of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen roar to life on Twitter ahead of Grand Prix

5 min read

13 March 2015

HONDAPU22 and HONDAPU14 are new additions to the Twitter-verse. No one would have thought it strange had they not been the formula 1 engines of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen respectively.

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Honda is well-known for putting customers in the driver’s seat via social media. Take the 2013 hashtag #WantNewCar. The company invited customers to share the hashtag, whereby Honda would send a personalised six-second video in response detailing why they needed a new ride. According to Alicia Jones, manager of Honda and Acura Social Marketing, its strategy on social platforms has always been to participate in existing conversations. Honda’s latest campaign doesn’t disappoint.

Jones mentioned that, In the past, the company only talked to customers when they visited a dealership. 

“Twitter has created an immediate, powerful touchpoint for us that never existed,” she added. “Twitter is unique among social platforms because the emphasis is on the conversation versus the publishing. It allows us to have dialogue that is one-to-one and one-to-many simultaneously. You can respond individually and be personal. That resonates with people.

“We’re very fortunate to have a deep base of loyal customers and fans who love the brand. Twitter gives us a way to humanise our brand and show them our fun, inventive personality. We can also directly acknowledge their enthusiasm and loyalty to build on relationships over time.”

For their latest campaign, Honda used the approaching Formula 1 Grand Prix as inspiration. 

Read more about Formula 1:

The McLaren-Honda partnership has been described as “the most successful partnership in F1 history”, which saw drivers such as Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost win championships due to Honda’s engines.

Honda took two of their engines, currently used in Formula 1 cars, gave them faces and, believe it or not, Twitter handles.

Formula 1 journalist Pablo Elizalde summed it up:

The @hondapu22 is a V6 Turbo Hybrid power unit, otherwise known as RA615H, found in Jenson Button’s car. This comes at a time where experts, such as 1996 world champion Damon Hill, expect that this season will be one “full of pain” on the track for Button.

Ironically, critics also suggest that McLaren’s impending “trouble”, seen in pre-season testing when they came in at last place, could be due to the team’s switch to Honda engines!

Button was keen to dismiss it all. He recently said: “McLaren-Honda have been working incredibly hard over the winter and, although we would have liked to cover more miles in Jerez and Barcelona, I can definitely see a difference in the car from the first day to the last. The team’s commitment to development and improvement is astonishing and, despite some tricky days in testing, we are seeing definitive progress.

“The car is a solid base which gives me optimism that we will get there, we just need patience.”

PU22 is just as geared up, as is evident in its most recent tweets:

Many movie fanatics may spot the not-so-subtle homage to 80s classic Robocop in the latter tweet.

And then there’s @hondapu14, who normally races with Fernando Alonso. Due to his recent injury, however, Alonso passed the baton to Kevin Magnussen, who will be participating in the Australian Grand Prix.

Both engines will be avid tweeters when the Grand Prix begins.