The "Honda Helpful" campaign is still unproven, so I can't recommend is as a marketing system, but it does have some very intriguing features. Instead of just advertising and describing themselves as helpful, some Honda dealerships are demonstrating their helpfulness by 1) providing traffic updates to people who register on the web site, 2) running a contest to give a Honda automobile to the person in the community voted "most helpful," and 3) sending teams of people out to help the community with the "random acts of kindness" approach. (Contagious has a terrific interview with the agency that created the campaign.)
Please note that the marketers hope that their audience will reach the conclusion that if Honda marketing is helpful and selfless, then Honda car salesmen must be the same way....Hmm....What I'm wondering is how much of this will 'stick' and still be done by the dealership in two years? If they succeed in changing the perception of the car salesman, will they be able to stop the 'helpful marketing'? Because passing out free bottled water isn't integral to selling cars the way having a Nordstrom sales person scour the shoe department for the right shoes to go with your new formal attire is integral to the department store purchase. Actions speak louder than words, but integrity speaks loudest, and that's means doing what you are supposed to do--and for a Honda car salesperson that's matching people to cars. If so, the Honda Helpful Awards would be the most sustainable part of the campaign. They could make the awards quarterly and get the community involved on a regular basis.