Lauren Smith

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ad writer, music lover, dog owner, picture taker, yoga practicer. always looking for more things to love.

Honda Element | Gil the Crab

Gil is a complex crustacean. Take five and go behind the shell with this video account of Gil’s journey.



Meet Gil, the Crab, a 3.5-inch tall, classically trained actor who is best known for his catch phrase: “I Pinch.”
This campaign was about proving to Honda that we could figure out a way to use social media by not just throwing money at it (actually, putting very little money behind it) but really engaging in it. We responded to every comment, every wall post and every message. We used Myspace like the users did, which ended up winning us a Yahoo! Big Idea Award and also becoming an Official Webby Honoree Award.

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4/21/06
The beginning of the Element’s beach-hanging,
surf-watching, toe-pinching buddy Gil.
It began in an integrated concept session in a second-floor RPA conference room. But unlike other “different” ideas that die in a room, this one lived. Because it had legs. Eight of them, actually.
The Crab Commercial

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5/15/06
As with any sea-level actor, he found ways to self-promote.
RPA wanted buzz, hype, mania and…animated pinches. So Gil started his own Myspace page, showcasing witty music preferences, glam Gil photos and an amusingly addicting blog. He even answered all his fan mail: engaging, entertaining, chatting and…big pinching.
Gil’s Myspace Page
I Pinch merchandise
Gil Blogs

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7/08/06
Unfortunately, Gils lost his job.
Just as Gil worries that he can only ride the “I pinch” wave so far, Gil loses his acting contract with Honda. Refusing to resign himself to a life of selling his moltings on EBay, Gil starts a petition on savethecrab.com, as well as his own theme song (featured in video above).
Save the Crab Merchandise

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8/26/06
Gil gets “pinched” by the Manhattan Beach Police.
A suspiciously framed pinching incident – showcased with Gil’s unfortunate mug shot on thesmokinggun.com – brought another setback to the devastated and unemployed crab. Crustaceans have tough shells, but are they tough enough to handle this luck?
The Smoking Gun
Free Gil Tees Merchandise

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9/01/06
Gils gets his job back, and writes and directs the new spot.
With 25,000 signatures on savethecrab.com, Gil not only gets his job back, but gets to write, cast and direct his next spot, greeted by two claws up. He’s also cleared on the pinching charges. The real success was proving to our Honda clients that we could do social media in a way befitting to the medium – engaging, social, and interesting.
25,000 Signatures
Gil Gets Exonerated
Gil Blogs about His Freedom and His Art

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The Team: J Barbush, Luis Ramirez, Ariel Shukert, Adam Lowry, Ariel Shukert and Lauren Smith.

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