• Sep 3, 2009
Many moons ago, when the internet was newish and Netscape ruled the land, we took a class called, "Anatomy of a Virtual Community." The idea was to explore and study how online communities functioned, if they were good or bad and if you really could achieve something akin to the mid-Nineties liberal arts school conception of "community." You have to understand this was back when chat rooms were as exotic as Tahiti and there wasn't anything on the internet but porn. The class itself didn't go so well, because most of the students wouldn't participate in the group chat the way the professor envisioned. Point being, it's quite difficult to control behavior in an online environment.

Honda just got hit upside the head with this particular lesson. Yesterday, we posted that the Crosstour Facebook page was overflowing with negative comments regarding the look of Honda's new CUV. Seems that the public at large isn't too thrilled with the design. We went ahead and ran our own poll and looks as if Autoblog readers agree with the Facebookians – 81.7 of you think it is good looking. And we'd guesstimate that well over 81.7% of the ensuing comments are negative. Many rabidly so. Difference is, we left the comments alone, while Honda was purging 'em on Facebook. To be fair to Honda, they say they have removed a total 28 comments (out of thousands) because of "profanity or inappropriate content." Further, they note that they "...did not remove any comments that simply expressed a negative opinion about the Crosstour." They did, however, remove one that expressed a positive opinion.

Our pal Alex had the presence of mind to grab a screen shot of the above exchange which has since been removed from the Crosstour page. Obviously, this type of thing is embarrassing for Honda. And it illustrates what a sticky pickle modern day PR folks find themselves in. Regarding Eddie Okubo's comments, here's what Honda has to say:
Eddie Okubo is a manager in Honda Product Planning. His post was removed for two reasons: 1) He did not first state that he is a Honda employee and that his posting is his personal -- not Honda's -- opinion. 2) He is not a spokesperson for Honda.
Did Eddie really do anything wrong? He's an employee defending not only his company and that company's product, but his livelihood. Yet his comments and other similar non-sanctioned corporate communique will one day wind up in business textbooks as examples of how social media marketing can go very, very wrong. Also, isn't every employee with a Facebook/Twitter account suddenly a spokesperson if their company decides to use social media? It could be that multinational corporations just aren't ready for Facebook and it's ilk. It's definitely an issue that deserves further study.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 76 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I feel bad for the marketing people in all of this. Could you imagine being shown this vehicle and told to promote it so people will buy it? *shudder*

      Maybe we should call Mike Rowe and do a Dirty Jobs episode about it...
        idriveeuro
        • 5 Years Ago
        He has a contractual obligation to Ford. Maybe he can get his hands on a lifted F-250 and show how well it works crushing miserable Japanese monstrosities like this.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Before you guys attack Honda , remember that the current styling woes only apply to the American Hondas. The honda's we get in Europe all look good , as do the japanese models ( like the Honda's of old ). Honda's big mistake was to hire American stylists , but even worse , American MBAs to tell them how to run their company
      • 5 Years Ago
      They deleted my post yesterday when I posted the early pictures we had seen of it that made it just look like a tall wagon.

      http://www.houstoncars.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/2010-honda-accord-crosstour.jpg

      -Dave
        • 5 Years Ago
        lol yes i love that version a lot better too they just need to scrap this one and add that one and everything will be fine and dandy
        • 5 Years Ago
        If they would have kept this styling, there wouldn't have been much criticism.
      • 5 Years Ago
      hahaha burned!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda did a good job of redesigning the 2005 Hyundai elantra GT hatchback. I guess honda knows a good thing when they see it :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda only wishes someone cared about their products. My interest in Honda began to wane when they stopped offering 3 door hatches with their excellent fully independent double wishbone suspension. I think now they are only interested in offering vehicles that accountants and bean counters could love. Scratch that, not love, but drive tolerably. Thus Honda now gives us century old technology in the form of torsion beam suspensions and drum brakes in tiny station wagons. No thanks, I'll pass.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I run a forum for the new crosstour , http://crosstourforums.net - I had to purge 6-7 users because they were not only saying things that were negative , they were posting pictures and just simply attacking the forums with long posts of 1 and 0's and other nonsense. Ive never seen this sort of response on the internet.

      But I have been running virtual communities on the internet for over 15 years and let me tell you , it is a very odd beast. Also the purging is one of those things that also upsets people.

      My thought is also this , is all the negativity because the vehicle is that bad or did it take a few hits of negative to make a snow ball effect. I looked at a poll on TOV - Temple of VTEC and it wasnt as bad as the poll autoblog is reporting. Which was suprising. My guess is the "honda fan base" on that site is more accepting.

      Also the funny part of this all is , every saw the photos of this vehile for awhile....with a cover here and there its nothing sprising. In fact its even better and everyone was in anticipation of this vehicle.

      I think the real wrench in the matrix is this. The Toyota Venza which honestly is the best looking vehicle that came out from Toyotas crap box in a long time. And most people believe Honda can do it better. Well this time I think people feel jipped in a way. But honestly I dont think Honda went out to create a Venza competitor I think this was in the works before? I dont know , but I really would like to speak with corporate Honda. Im a huge Honda fan , my communities are all based on Honda. I was the first to build a Honda community on the internet. Which probably was one of the first largest communities on the net and its always been a roller coaster. Ive been on both sides , admin and user and well , you never know.

      I was also a forum manager and of a "undisclosed" magazine which purchased a lot of forums then tried to convert them all into one mega forum without announcing or asking the communities or even myself what we thought. Let me tell you that was one large boston tea party!

      Anyhow , just thought I would share , its a shame to see the negatives. Honestly this is my prediction. People are going to get over it and once the vehicle comes out it will be probably picked up by those who are in the CR-V / Accord market. Unfortunately its going to be dominated by the Venza if the prices are going to be the same. But thats just how it goes. Hopefully the Crosstour pulls off some serious drivability and tightness as Honda normally does to sway the people looking for refinement and not look.

      Soon this would be just another funny. But as time goes on , people will have to deal with the internet community as it grows and brings in more and more people from different sectors and when it goes sour , it doesnt go lightly! I could go on further as to wat the internet community is creating and doing....but thats another blog.

      Its unstoppable , but at least Honda did some damage control and honestly it is all you can do and it does help some.....
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks like Honda is going to have a statement on the crosstour and the feedback on facebook.
      http://twitter.com/Alicia_at_Honda
        • 5 Years Ago
        OK, I'm starting to smell a possible rat, especially after reading that Tweet. Anyone think it's possible this is all just a ploy and that a reasonable looking car is in the wings, waiting to be revealed in "response" to the overdone, utility-challenged blob we've been shown?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That Tweet sounds awfully fishy. Anyone thinking it's possible this is all a ruse and Honda has a reasonable, useful car in the wings waiting to be introduced in "response" to the monster we've been shown?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seems to me Honda is still struggling to understand that the whole point of social media is to listen to the community voice.
      • 5 Years Ago
      LOL I can relate to this dude. My company is trying to get me involved in a similar campaign.
      These things ALWAYS go wrong And the sad thing is this dude is the one taking the heat for something that was probably his manager's idea.
      • 5 Years Ago
      well sorry Honda but that thing is like a rhino with constipation if only you would realized that we don't want some huge car that makes people think Americans are so big we need enlarged cars for us only if you used the euro one for here why didn't you i would highly recommend it plus we don't like being considered fat almost all cars are produced in a larger version for Americans it is just rude but i wish this will show Honda they may have good cars but they need to make better looking cars i mean they think Americans will be like this thing is the best looking thing on earth i mean anyone and there blind dog can tell this thing is ugly sorry but that is the truth in my eyes
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dude, learn how to use periods and commas if you want to be taken seriously.
        • 5 Years Ago
        To me when I need to say something I don't care about using periods and commas. Plus I just needed to show my opinion not my wounderouse English skills, plus who ever said I learned how to use them correctly. Maybe English is my second language so I never learned how to correctly use them which is the case.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda=the Abercrombie of car companies, Acura would be Hollister. Both companies are clueless and live in a dream world.

      I used to work at a Honda dealer, and IMO except for the Accord, Civic, and CR-V none of their products are worth the Honda name. The RidgeLine is basically an Accord El Camino, while the Odyssey is more of a bulky behemoth than the Sienna and the Pilot is too much of an H2 wannabe.

      Thank God our garage is Toyota-dominated. I always felt Toyota had the upper hand over Honda.
        • 5 Years Ago
        At least Toyota has their head screwed on somewhat - unlike Honda and Obama Motors... Like I said, Honda's just as clueless as Abercrombie when it comes to running a company - Honda's being ruled by bean-counters, while Abercrombie is run by a 60-something undergoing a older age crisis. Honestly, I think a revolution needs to happen in Aoyama for Honda to wake up and go back to their glory days of the 90s.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Here's a guy claiming to know something about cars and he has a garage full of Toyotas.

        Oh man, this is just too much for me. I gotta go lay down for a bit.
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