7 Marketing Lessons from Blade Runner 2049

7 marketing lessons from ‘Blade Runner 2049’

By Michelle Garrett | Posted: October 12, 2017
Though highly anticipated by fans, “Blade Runner 2049” has flopped at the box office. The sequel to the cult favorite “Blade Runner” stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, along with other A-list actors such as Jared Leto and Robyn Wright.

 

DigitalTrends.com reported:

In an era where studios relentlessly plunder the tombs of movies past, always looking for the next successful remake or reboot, few revivals have caused as much trepidation and excitement as Blade Runner 2049.

However, it opened to lackluster numbers, bringing in roughly $31 million in its recent debut in the United States and Canada.

Here are several marketing insights you can glean from “Blade Runner 2049’s” promotional derailment:

1. Less is more. Clocking in at 2 hours and 43 minutes, the film’s run time might scare moviegoers away.

Brand managers should remember that audiences have a short attention span, so briefer marketing efforts might play better with consumers.

2. Reviews aren’t everything. The film is garnering strong word-of-mouth reviews and an 88 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It has also won over critics. However, it’s not translating into revenue.

The lesson: Reviews don’t always matter. If your product, service or organization carries enough negatives, a positive buzz won’t save your campaign.

3. Watch your competition. Some speculate that “It” stole potential viewers of “Blade Runner 2049.” The Stephen King adaptation outperformed projections, banking more than $600 million in its run so far. For those who only go to the theater occasionally, this can cut into “Blade Runner 2049’s” ticket sales.

Marketers, time your launch when your competition is quiet.

4. Appeal to several audiences. Critics say that “Blade Runner 2049” holds little appeal for women, with its core audience skewing toward men over the age of 25. Warner Bros. said that 71 percent of opening-weekend ticket buyers were male.

“I’m disappointed,” said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “The real trick now is to expand the audience past older men.”

Jezebel’s Aimée Lutkin wrote:

Movies in general did pretty bad this summer, with the exception of Patty Jenkins’s flick and It. Make Pennywise a woman and you have your next smash hit. You’re welcome, Hollywood. Coming up behind Blade Runner 2049 at the box office was The Mountain Between Us, which brought in $10 million, and cost only $35 million to make. The marketing for that film was all over the place, and it is reportedly terrible, but it appealed to a heterosexual woman’s interest in watching Idris Elba for two hours.

Unless you’re sure a narrow audience will boost your campaign’s ROI and your organization’s bottom line, aim for wider appeal.

5. Pique consumers’ interest. Some blame the film’s generic trailers, which didn’t give away many secrets, for its lackluster opening. That move was probably due to “Blade Runner 2049’s” creators trying to keep plot details under wraps.

Though marketers might want to keep some secrets close to the vest, perhaps a teaser before the product is launched revealing enough to whet the buyer’s appetite is in order. Otherwise, why should consumers be excited?

6. Build on a hit. The original “Blade Runner” carries with it a loyal fan base, but it was never a box-office smash.

Are you creating add-on of follow-up products and services? Take a hard look at what came before—and consequent successes—to ensure a product or service warrants a sequel.

7. Timing matters. It’s been 35 years since “Blade Runner” hit theaters. Many are too young to have seen the original and won’t be interested in a sequel. For others, it might have been too long ago.

If you’re planning a second version your product or service, release it before consumers lose interest.

What lessons would you add, PR Daily readers?

Michelle Garrett is a PR consultant and writer at Garrett Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter @PRisUs or connect with her on LinkedIn.

2017 40 Under 40 – Gulfshore Business – September 2017

Source: 2017 40 Under 40 – Gulfshore Business – September 2017

 

2017 40 Under 40

Saluting Southwest Florida’s young achievers.

As Southwest Florida continues to grow and prosper, keeping the momentum alive will be dependent on future generations of talented professionals who will not only provide the vision, but also meet challenges and solve problems as they arise.

Since 2003, Gulfshore Business has recognized young leaders who have distinguished themselves in their professions and in their communities. And many of these individuals have made significant contributions to the region’s economic, charitable and civic well-being.

Once again, we are pleased to acknowledge 40 rising stars, under 40 years old, from a variety of occupations, including law, education, medical, finance, public service and the arts, as well as entrepreneurs.

Chosen from dozens of nominations, this year’s winners represent the leadership our region needs to move forward. The judges considered professional accomplishments, volunteer work and other plaudits from their nominators. With all of the talent represented, there were some tough decisions, but we finally selected our final 40.

Please read on learn more about the 2017 40-under-40 honorees. (Photography by Craig Hildebrand)

 

Joel Andersen (30)

Vice president of operations, M Room Company USA; project manager, Local Greens Co. and Ilme Advertising

Some might say Joel Andersen was born to build. Whether it’s in the form of teams, companies, or outreach programs, Andersen constantly sets his sights on how to develop his community even further. Professionally, he’s helping expand the U.S. presence of three Finnish firms: M Room USA, Local Greens LLC and Ilme Advertising, in various leadership roles. And when he’s off the clock, he’s serving as a Volunteer Boy Scouts of America youth leader and Cub Scout den leader, and as Southwest Florida Enterprise Center Advisory Board member, to help entrepreneurs reach their full potential. He’s also had a hand in developing Naples Accelerator and been recognized by the likes of Naples SCORE, David Lawrence Center, and Greater Naples YMCA.

In his downtime, Andersen enjoys sports, cycling, and cinematography. He’s married with an infant daughter. —Melanie Pagan 

 

 

Marin Asher (38)

Director of marketing and business relations, Larue Pest Management

To Marin Asher, family is everything. The wife and mother of one currently serves as board vice president of Our Mother’s Home of Southwest Florida, spreading awareness about the mentored-living program for young mothers in the foster care system and helping its girls and their children stay together and achieve self-sufficiency. She joined Our Mother’s Home board of directors 10 years after purchasing the home of the program’s late founder, Helen Coppage. In addition to her roles with Our Mother’s Home and Larue Pest Management, Asher serves on the Cape Coral Technical College Digital Design Department Advisory Board and Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament and Women in Business committees.

Asher comes from a long line of artists, including her mother, an accomplished watercolor painter, and also enjoys the hobby. When she’s not creating, she’s out on the water with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. —Melanie Pagan

 

Kristi Bartlett (39)

Vice president, economic development, Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce

There is a strong working force behind much of the economic success and growth of Collier County, and that would largely be due to the efforts of vice president of Economic Development for Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, Kristi Bartlett. In addition to leading the chamber’s public-policy program, Bartlett is also responsible for planning and implementing the yearly program for Opportunity Naples. She was a main force behind the local expansions of Arthrex and ACI Worldwide.

When difficulties arise in her efforts for workforce development, Bartlett relies on the term “falling up” as inspiration to push through. “I try to take my frustrations or disappointments and turn them into a positive. It is very motivating,” she says.

Bartlett stays motivated in her personal life as well, serving as a co-caption of the local chapter of the Women’s March on Washington, and being a devoted mother to her daughter, Logan. —Tess Raines

 

Jason H. Becker (37)

Co-Founder of Golf Life Navigators; PGA of America Golf Professional

Becker has always been determined to be successful and make a difference in the community. After moving from a small town in Michigan, Becker ended up in Naples and became involved with Florida Gulf Coast University. He developed a student organization from scratch for the Professional Golf Management Program, and in 2011 accepted the position of program director for the First Tee.

The First Tee is a non-profit organization that helps children learn valuable life skills through golf. Becker passes on the key to his success to every young fellow entrepreneur he works alongside: “Surround yourself with people who won’t let you give up…the reward is too special to turn away from.”

When he isn’t busy helping others, Becker enjoys heading to the soccer fields or playing golf with his kids, Brendan and Ava. —Tess Raines

 

Ryan Benson (36)

Principal/owner, A. Vernon Allen Builder

You’ve likely seen some of Ryan Benson’s work driving through the area, and you may have even commented on its artistry. As the principal of A. Vernon Allen Builders and a 15-year veteran of the construction industry, Benson knows exactly what a custom home or building should entail. His professionalism is reflected in his approach to business, in which he states, “Treat people well, be honest, and give people the opportunity to do what they are best at.”

He is a graduate of Stetson University and FIU, a LEED Green Associate accredited building contractor, and a heavily involved volunteer with The Boys and Girls Club of Collier County.

Benson enjoys boating with his friends and family and making beer. —Tess Raines

 

Matt Bernhardt (37)​

Chief executive officer of Stickboy Creative and Vectra Digital

When it comes to the most valuable lesson he has learned in his career, Matthew Bernhardt would attribute it to “how crucial it is to focus on what your strengths are and focus on growing those.” It is likely his concentration on his own strengths that made him the successful CEO of Stickboy Creative & Vectra Digital. In addition to this role, Bernhardt is an entrepreneur that manages three technology companies and is also currently attending Harvard University’s Business Executive Education Program.

He won the 2014 Technology Innovation Award by Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership and multiple Sand Dollar Awards for his work in business technology.

Bernhardt has traveled to more than 30 countries (and counting!), with his wife, and enjoys reading. —Tess Raines

 

Joseph Bidwell (37)

CEO, Home Instead Senior Care

In 2016, Joseph Bidwell and his staff at Home Instead Senior Care helped deliver more than 12,000 gifts to seniors who were housebound or in nursing facilities all across Southwest Florida as part of the franchise’s Be a Santa to a Senior program. That’s just a fraction of good Bidwell is involved in. As CEO of Home Instead, Bidwell facilitates home senior care for those in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties.

Prior to leading the company, Bidwell served as an aerospace engineer at the National Air & Space Intelligence Center in Dayton, Ohio, and at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California. In this career, Bidwell led business development efforts on a space-designed ballistic missile defense system. He also completed a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and architecture from USC and traveled often to brief high-level military leaders. Bidwell has been recognized by Northrop Grumman, a global security company, with its Program Management Award and Future Leaders: Lead1NG Award.

When he’s not working, Bidwell enjoys spending time with his wife and three young children, Eliza, Fitz and Lochlan, and volunteers in his daughter’s kindergarten classroom. An avid rock climber, Bidwell hopes to one day open a rock-climbing facility in the area. —Melanie Pagan

 

Andrew Blitch (32)

President, “A” Locksmith

In 2014 at the age of 29, Andrew Blitch left behind a career as a police officer in Houston and, in an entrepreneurial leap of faith, returned to his hometown of Naples to purchase “A” Locksmith with his wife, Angelique. The company had been around since 1973, and Blitch took over as the youngest of 10 employees. Under his leadership, sales have nearly doubled and staff and service quality has grown. Angie’s List even recognized the business with a Super Service Award in 2016.

As a police officer, Blitch obtained nine Letters of Commendation, highlighting his integrity, heroism and efforts to save multiple lives. The Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) alumnus is a member of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and 2017 Growing Associates in Naples (GAIN) class. He graduated cum laude with a major in criminal justice and minor in mathematics and hopes to further benefit Naples with his specialized knowledge of law enforcement, home and business security, and crime prevention.

Blitch and his wife have two children, Genevieve, 5, and Lucas, 1. —Melanie Pagan

 

Tabatha Butcher (39)

Chief of EMS, Collier County Emergency Medical Services

Tabatha Butcher has aided the people of Collier County for the last two decades. An employee of Collier County Emergency Medical Services for 20 years, Butcher has served in roles such as flight paramedic, captain, battalion chief and assistant chief, before being promoted to chief of EMS in May 2016. The Naples native has accomplished many things in her latest position, including placing power lift stretchers on ambulances to assist in patient safety, purchasing laptops for all ambulances to facilitate better dispatch communication, creating a program to help train existing employees to replace retiring supervisors, and promoting department officers who had not had pay raises in eight years.

Butcher is also a 2016 graduate of Leadership Collier and active with with David Lawrence Center, Collier County Emergency Medical Authority, Drug Free Collier, Safe and Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County and more. She recently became a member of the EMS steering committee and she’s a two-time nominee of the Naples Daily News Distinguished Public Servant Award.

Butcher has two children—Dylan, 13, and Ashlyn, 9—with her husband, Michael. —Melanie Pagan 

 

John Thomas Cardillo (39)

Attorney, Cardillo, Keith, & Bonaquist Attorneys at Law

John Thomas Cardillo is a well-known figure in the Collier County justice system. The attorney has served as president of the Collier County Bar Association and its Young Lawyers division, chair of the Collier County Public Schools Mock Trial Program, on the Florida Bar 20th judicial circuit grievance committee, Collier County Legal Aid program advisory board, and more.

In his career, Cardillo has helped families successfully come to estate and legacy agreements, saying, “our clients’ interests and objectives are paramount.” He’s earned several awards for his efforts, such as Florida Trend‘s Legal Elite Up & Comer and Florida Super Lawyers Rising Star, and has been named Collier County Legal Aid Attorney of the Month.

Cardillo is married with two daughters and enjoys fishing, golf, gardening and cooking. —Melanie Pagan 

Early PR Lessons from Tropical Storm Harvey

One last crisis lesson that we hope is being practiced in the disaster areas is the need for patience. That applies to those in need as well as the organizations and government units helping in recovery. As Linda Rutherford, CCO of Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, noted in her recent article about her brand’s booking-related crisis last summer when nearly 2,000 flights were cancelled, the volume of inquiries during a crisis can be enormous.

Source: Early PR Lessons from Tropical Storm Harvey

How to Smoothly Transition From In-House to Agency PR

In an agency, you are empowered to carve your destiny: Many corporations struggle with agility. On the other hand, in an agency the slate is truly tabula rasa. You can carve your destiny and build the type of business you find inspiring, fun and motivational. Agencies also mandate keeping ahead of trends and understanding the bigger picture, including becoming an expert on the happenings of their clients’ competitors. As a former corporate communications executive, my niche was in healthcare. Now I have an opportunity within an agency to expand my knowledge and create something that is my own – a new practice group that can develop creative communication solutions for a variety of businesses. An agency is a fantastic platform to grow, create and innovate. That was a key driver behind my decision to make the switch.

Source: How to Smoothly Transition From In-House to Agency PR

How to Smoothly Transition From In-House to Agency PR

shutterstock_461418178After spending more than two decades at multinationals such as Merck & Co., Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, I began to contemplate my next career move. I was conflicted on whether I wanted to stay in-house or return to a PR agency.

I turned to a close friend in the recruiting world to seek advice. My friend quipped that if I wanted frustration, I should consider staying in a corporate environment, but if I wanted anxiety, I should join a public relations firm.

Jokes aside, there are pros and cons to corporate and agency settings. It’s important to understand the differences to be successful in both.

After making the leap from the corporate world to the agency side, I have several insights to share. Any PR pro considering making a similar move should consider the following to transition seamlessly.

1. Remember that you’re not a PR expert, you are a business expert: Just as in a corporation, you must understand the barriers and drivers for your clients and know their business intimately. You should keep ahead of industry trends, analyze data from articles, speak to thought leaders and other key influencers to gain a thorough understanding of your client’s business and provide strategic counsel that truly creates value.

2. You can better help agencies understand how corporations work: Corporations can sometimes be stifled by the length of time it takes to make decisions. This is due chiefly to matrix structures that require sign-off from a variety of functions. In healthcare, medical affairs, regulatory and legal teams can take a long time to assess, agree and finalize responses to promotional materials or even scientific exchange. Being in an agency warrants patience and understanding of the complexities these group interactions entail. By knowing the processes, offering to help a client when necessary and understanding the holistic landscape for approvals, agencies can benefit from having former in-house professionals on their teams.

3. In an agency, you are empowered to carve your destiny: Many corporations struggle with agility. On the other hand, in an agency the slate is truly tabula rasa. You can carve your destiny and build the type of business you find inspiring, fun and motivational. Agencies also mandate keeping ahead of trends and understanding the bigger picture, including becoming an expert on the happenings of their clients’ competitors. As a former corporate communications executive, my niche was in healthcare. Now I have an opportunity within an agency to expand my knowledge and create something that is my own—a new practice group that can develop creative communication solutions for a variety of businesses. An agency is a fantastic platform to grow, create and innovate. That was a key driver behind my decision to make the switch.

4. For the recent graduate: As it’s the time of year when new graduates are seeking employment, I add a bit of advice for them. It’s important to consider two points as you embark on a career in communications. First, if you want to get solid, generalist experience and become knowledgeable about a variety of skills within our function, agencies are well suited for you to learn broadly and develop skills. On the other hand, if you are singularly passionate about a specific industry it makes sense to join a company within that sector and grow through the ranks. No matter which path you pursue, you must develop prolific reading and analytical skills, identify a mentor who can drive and challenge you, write with passion and precision and learn to network masterfully.

Srikant Ramaswami is EVP, global and emerging markets, healthcare, rbb communications.

Contact him at:  Srikant.Ramaswami@rbbcommunications.com

 

 

TOP PR AGENCIES IN FLORIDA – CHECK OUT “THE lIST”

Source: TOP PR AGENCIES IN FLORIDA – CHECK OUT “THE lIST”

Public Relations Agencies

Ranked by 2016 PR net fee income

Locally Researched by: Gilberto Medina, South Florida Business JournalAug 11, 2017, 6:00am EDT Revised: Aug 11, 2017, 8:25am EDT
SORT:RANK ↑
Rank ↑
Rank ↓
 (A-Z)
 (Z-A)
2016 PR net fee income 1 (A-Z)
2016 PR net fee income 1 (Z-A)
2015 PR net fee income (A-Z)
2015 PR net fee income (Z-A)
S. Fla. staff ↑
S. Fla. staff ↓
Monthly retainer fee range (A-Z)
Monthly retainer fee range (Z-A)
Rank 2016 PR Net Fee Income 1 2015 PR Net Fee Income S. Fla. Staff Monthly Retainer Fee Range
1 Newlink
1111 Brickell Ave.
Suite 1350
Miami, FL 33131
305-532-7950
newlink-group.com
$14.2 million $14.1 million 90 NA
2 RBB Communications
355 Alhambra Circle
Suite 800
Coral Gables, FL 33134
305-448-7450
rbbcommunications.com
$9.59 million $9.34 million 56 $7,500 – $50,000
3 Roar Media
55 Miracle Mile
Suite 330
Coral Gables, FL 33134
305-570-2362
roarmedia.com
$4.38 million $3.66 million 26 $5,000 – $25,000
4 Kreps DeMaria
220 Alhambra Circle
Suite 310
Coral Gables, FL 33134
305-663-3543
krepspr.com
$3.19 million $3.44 million 18 $5,000 – $20,000
4 Starmark
210 S. Andrews Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
954-874-9000
starmark.com
$3.08 million $2.78 million 49 $5,000 – $25,000

 

2018 Honda Odyssey Elite First Test: Good Enough to Convert Crossover Lovers?

Source: 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite First Test: Good Enough to Convert Crossover Lovers?

BUYER’S GUIDE

2018 HONDA ODYSSEY ELITE FIRST TEST: GOOD ENOUGH TO CONVERT CROSSOVER LOVERS?

Testing the most spacious car Honda offers

The growing family to convince is my sister, brother-in-law, a ridiculously cute three-year-old girl, and a baby girl who will be here before the end of the year. Their family car is a three-row crossover that fills up when you’re trying to carry mom, dad, the kid in a car seat, and two adult friends to breakfast, or those same folks plus a dog. Minivans are a better bet than similarly sized and priced crossovers for their lower floor height, additional cargo space before folding down any seats, and space for second- and third-row passengers. What stops many (including my sister) from going Odyssey and Sienna instead of Pilot or Highlander is the image associated with minivan drivers.

Improved Acceleration from an Updated Engine and New Transmissions

With the 2018 Odyssey in mind, that image certainly has nothing to do with minivans being slow. All Odysseys get a power boost for 2018—the minivan’s 3.5-liter V-6 now makes 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic is standard on the LX, EX, and EX-L trims, and a new 10-speed automatic comes on the more expensive Touring and Elite trims. We hear the 2018 Odyssey’s nine-speed has been updated and improved since Honda and Acura first started using it on other products, and we look forward to testing that for ourselves, especially after a long-term 2016 Honda Pilot Elite needed to get its nine-speed transmission replaced under warranty. The well-tuned 10-speed automatic on our loaded 2018 Odyssey Elite tester shifted smoothly, though drivers can chirp the tires with an overeager initial application of the throttle from a stop. On the track, associate road test editor Erick Ayapana said the transmission seems well matched to the engine.

With the updated engine and 10-speed automatic, the 2018 Odyssey sped from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.9 seconds. That’s a full second quicker than a 2015 Odyssey Elite we tested, and just two-tenths of a second slower than a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring we’ve tested, though two higher-trim and heavier Pacifica Limiteds reached 60 mph in 7.5 and 7.7 seconds. Multiple editors noticed a strong engine note from the Odyssey’s V-6, though the engine sound is only intrusive (or sporty, depending on your perspective) at wide-open throttle; otherwise the Odyssey feels quiet but not luxury-car quiet.

The 2018 Odyssey complements improved acceleration with slightly better EPA-rated fuel economy—not a bad combination. Moving from the 2017 model’s 19/27 mpg city/highway to 19/28 mpg on the 2018 Odyssey with either transmission is an insignificant improvement, but it’s about even with the Chrysler Pacifica (18-19/28 mpg) and front-drive Toyota Sienna (19/27 mpg), and well ahead of the Kia Sedona (from 17/22 mpg to 18/25 mpg depending on trim). Fuel economy might not be at the top of your list, but a more efficient minivan such as the more expensive Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid means fewer stops at the gas station.

Space and Interior Flexibility

We’d prefer the last-gen Odyssey’s HVAC knobs to the up/down toggles on the new model, but overall the new interior is a big step forward. Blue ambient lighting is included on the Elite model.

If you’re considering a minivan, interior space and ease of access are likely high on your priority list. As with every minivan, available second-row power-sliding doors are incredibly helpful, making life easier for kids and preventing big doors from slamming into the adjacent car in the mall parking lot. Where the Odyssey and other minivans destroy the other crossovers is in cargo space behind the second and third rows. The Odyssey still has a decent amount of space in a deep well at the back if all three rows are full of passengers. When they’re not, one long pull of a strap is all it takes to fold the third-row seats in that cavernous space when you need more cargo space.

Even the 2018 Odyssey’s third-row seats will seat adults of average height, thanks to third-row legroom that’s more generous than that of the Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna, or Kia Sedona. Honda also claims the third row has best-in-class visibility, plus rear side windows that reach lower (relative to the height of third-row passengers’ eyes) than other minivans. That’s a helpful advantage I experienced while I poked around the minivan, but it’s only meaningful if you plan on actually using the third row a lot. While shuttling adults and kids around town, editor-in-chief Ed Loh was impressed by the Odyssey’s space, noting that both rows offered enough room and that second-row comfort was rated very high. My sister had a similar experience recently when she rented a Chrysler Pacifica to drive around a mix of adults and kids. The Odyssey is one of the most spacious family vehicles available today, but some three-row crossover owners will be just as delighted by the spaciousness of the Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna, too.

Instead of offering second-row seats that fold into the floor like the Chrysler Pacifica (Stow ‘n Go), the 2018 Honda Odyssey includes Magic Slide second-row seats on all but the base LX trim. The Magic Slide seats move back and forth like you’d expect, but they also move from side to side. The feature is useful if you don’t mind the Odyssey becoming a seven- and not eight-passenger minivan, and you’ll need a place to store the second-row middle seat. That’s a real inconvenience, but taking out the seat is something you’ll probably only have to do once after you bring home the Odyssey from a dealership. Once that middle seat has been stuffed in a closet or a corner of the garage, you’re left with two captain’s chairs that each have armrests, and the ability to easily slide those seats from one side to the other up to 12.9 inches. This sounds like a lot of trouble just to achieve the seven-passenger layout of some other minivans, but the flexible seats can make it easier to get into the third row if one second-row seat has been moved toward the center of the car. With one second-row captain’s chair moved to the center and pushed forward, the driver can more easily reach a kid secured in a child seat. And if your situation ever changes such that you do need eight-passenger seating, the Odyssey (in EX and above) can accommodate.

Handling, Braking, and Safety

On the track, the 2018 Odyssey Elite minivan completed the figure-eight course in [irrelevant] seconds at [insignificant] g, and … OK, OK, it finished it in 29.1 seconds at 0.56 g, not a very good performance among minivans. Testing director Kim Reynolds said the Odyssey’s stability control was “very heavy handed, severely limiting power while cornering.” In the real world, that might not be a bad thing for a vehicle where safety is so important. Reynolds also noted the Odyssey was “very well behaved” and pointed out a behavior we noticed on the road, too—the car’s considerable but smooth body motions. When loaded with six people, Loh said the Odyssey felt “very stable yet surprisingly nimble.”

Our loaded 4,562-pound tester came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, a respectable but not class-leading performance. We’ve tested 2017 Chrysler Pacificas coming to a stop in 122-131 feet, and our long-term 2016 Kia Sedona SX finished the test in 118 feet. The 2018 Odyssey hasn’t been safety-tested yet by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but Honda expects top scores from both organizations. That’s good because the Pacifica, Sedona, and Sienna all have five-star overall safety ratings from the NHTSA. As for IIHS ratings, the Pacifica is a 2017 Top Safety Pick+, and the Sedona is a 2017 Top Safety Pick. On the 2018 Odyssey EX and above, the standard Honda Sensing active safety tech includes a system that can apply the brakes if it senses a collision ahead, another feature that can keep the car in its lane, and an adaptive cruise control system we wish had stop-and-go functionality (the Odyssey’s version of the tech disengages below 22 mph).

CabinTalk and the Odyssey’s Interior

Inside, the 2018 Odyssey’s interior takes a step forward with a modern instrument cluster that features a 7.0-inch screen at its center. An 8.0-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality is standard on the 2018 Odyssey EX and above. Our Elite tester had a $47,410 as-tested price, which means it included everything Honda offers on the Odyssey. That includes heated and ventilated front seats, navigation, LED headlights, leather seats, an entertainment system with a 10.2-inch screen and a How Much Farther function, attractive 19-inch wheels, a full suite of active safety tech, front and rear parking sensors, the helpful HondaVAC vacuum (in a 2017 Odyssey, I used the feature to vacuum spilled french fries from the front seat footwell), as well as two new-to-Honda features named CabinWatch and CabinTalk.

CabinWatch (included on Touring and Elite) uses a camera placed near the entertainment system to look back to the second and third rows, and it even has night vision. CabinTalk (included on EX-L with nav and the entertainment system, Touring, and Elite) sends the driver and front passenger’s voice through the rear speakers (and entertainment-system headphones) to get everyone’s attention. Once everyone is listening, they can send destination suggestions to the driver—such as where to stop for lunch—via the CabinControl app that’s available on the EX trim and above. On the app, users can suggest navigation destinations to the driver (who can accept or reject them), control the entertainment system if your Odyssey has one, change rear climate control settings, or add songs to a social playlist. The system worked fine for us and could be cool to have on road trips, though we could see the CabinTalk feature being most useful on a regular basis.

Even with all these features, technology, and top-of-the-class interior space, the 2018 Odyssey is no luxury minivan. For that type of minivan experience, if you don’t mind low fuel economy, check out the Kia Sedona SXL. A former Big Test comparison winner, the Sedona SXL has Nappa leather seats in a couple two-tone color combinations including one with dark burgundy, second-row seats with retractable footrests, 19-inch chrome wheels, a very useful multi-camera parking aid, and a dual-panel moonroof.

Value

After checking out the 2018 Odyssey in person and learning about all the features and standard equipment, my sister was surprised that the loaded Elite model was only $47,610. There really is a lot of value in the Odyssey’s lineup, especially when compared to SUVs that won’t have the same flexible and spacious interior. If you’re looking for the sweet spot in the Odyssey’s lineup, avoid the base LX model if you can afford upgrading. The 2018 Odyssey LX is still just as spacious as the other models, but it lacks power-sliding doors (like base models of the Kia, Chrysler, and Toyota) and the Honda Sensing active safety tech. In addition to the bigger central screen on the dash you get with the EX, the EX-L adds a power liftgate, an acoustic windshield that might make the interior a tad quieter, and a few other upgrades. As we mentioned above, we hope the nine-speed automatic in every trim but the 10-speed-equipped Touring and Elite has been improved since Honda and Acura started using it in other models.

One of those other models is the Pilot, a crossover that might appeal more to my sister and brother-in-law, as well as to the increasing number of buyers eschewing cars for crossovers of all shapes and sizes. Because even after seeing all the Odyssey had to offer and experiencing the ease of access and spaciousness of a minivan, my sister—for now—is solidly in the large group of buyers avoiding minivans. For those who want or don’t mind a minivan, the Odyssey is one of the most spacious around, with a highly functional interior that shines best if you can find a place in the garage for that middle second-row seat. Once you do, you’ll be driving one of the most well-rounded players in the shrinking minivan segment.

2018 Honda Odyssey Elite
BASE PRICE $47,610
PRICE AS TESTED $47,610
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 8-pass, 4-door van
ENGINE 3.5L/280-hp/262-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,562 lb (55/45%)
WHEELBASE 118.1 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 203.2 x 78.5 x 69.6 in
0-60 MPH 6.9 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.4 sec @ 91.8 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 124 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.74 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 29.1 sec @ 0.56 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 19/28/22 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/120 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.87 lb/mile

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