By Kap Maceda Aguila

Honda starts them up young at KidZania

Posted on August 17, 2016

COGNIZANT THAT the youth of today are tomorrow’s motorists, car owners, and even sales executives and automobile designers, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) has made its presence felt most decisively through two interactive displays at the popular KidZania in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Children role-play as pit crew members at Honda Cars’ “showroom” in KidZania. -- Kap Maceda Aguila
KidZania is a Mexico-based international “indoor family entertainment center,” a place where children ages four to 14 can role-play in “developmentally appropriate” adult situations. The unique concept has found resonance in various markets. Today, the chain now boasts 20 international locations.

Youngsters get a controlled, cursory glance into the real world and its situations and environments. This is a world with banks, radio and television studios, hospitals, an art school, fast-food outlets, grocery stores, fire stations, restaurants, ice cream factories, bookstores, and other “grown-up” institutions. Not quite an immersion as it is an entertaining demystification of erstwhile nebulous concepts to a child, KidZania is a rare occasion where fun and learning intersect almost perfectly.

Compared to a formal school where parents and guardians are relegated to the background and often have no idea how their kids perform, KidZania provides a terrarium-like experience. It is an exposed laboratory of sorts where adults can vicariously undergo and witness for themselves what their tots do. Obviously, it’s easy to see how the concept has translated into a successful business model as well. There is branding value to making placements via the actual “establishments” within, so KidZania has partnered with many big local players for exactly that. For example, the “bank” is BPI-branded while the “hospital” is St. Luke’s Medical Center.

HCPI’s participation in KidZania comes via a mock-up “dealership” where kids can experience designing and making pitches for cars, as well as glean information about vehicles’ features. Near it is a “pit,” where participants learn the value of teamwork while fostering the spirit of competition. Teams vie for the fastest time changing tires on a Formula race car replica.

It is not a forced fit, either. The idea actually hews to Honda’s company tag line, “The Power of Dreams.” Indeed, childhood is the time in one’s life when dreams resonate the strongest and most clearly, so this is obviously the best opportunity to make an impression through positive, self-affirming statements.