Launching or relaunching a brand via social networks is not only for the mom-and-pop shops.  Three big companies that are heavily relying on social networks to make a statement for their brands are CNN, Volkswagen and Honda.

Cnn.com will unveil a major overhaul on their site, come Monday, which will feature a more visual, socially oriented and content rich site.  The new homepage will have more of a focus on video, allowing users to expand and contract video snippets as they read stories.  The site will also have more outlets for users to participate in the news stories, with every page providing opportunities to add comments.  Finally, CNN.com is going to attempt to recreate the success the Presidential Election had with social network, Facebook, and on Nov. 9th, as they will be hosting a Webcast featuring Oprah and her latest book club recommendation.  For more information about Cnn.com’s relaunch, go to: http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/digital/e3if3a533371c11b1485152b6d5ebdcd355?pn=1

Volkswagen of America has decided to forego the traditional way of launching a new vehicle and has instead opted to launch the newest-generation GTI exclusively via an iPhone app.  Not only is VW saving a lot of cash by launching the GTI this way, but they are also able to target their key demographic.  They believe their target demo will download the app based on good PR, viral pass-along and some paid search for consumers looking for iPhone apps and GTI information.  It is a first for the industry and it could be a great way for struggling car companies to hit their numbers without emptying their pockets upfront. For more on the launch, go to: http://adage.com/article?article_id=139862

Honda also conducted a little social experiment of its own themed, “Everybody Knows Somebody Who Loves a Honda.”  The company quietly launched an official Facebook page and encouraged owners to join as overall Honda fans, as well as specific vehicle fans.  This page gave Honda owners and enthusiasts a way to connect with friends, family and people all over the world.  Honda supported the campaign with a sprinkling of ads and a one-day targeted homepage takeover of ESPN.com, CNN.com and SportsYahoo.com.  The campaign had topped 2 million fans by October 22nd.  The brand has since launched a new online hub for the brand campaign at love.honda.com.  For more information about how Honda made this social network campaign a success, go to: http://adage.com/article?article_id=139855

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