The Trump administration released a slickly produced video on Friday featuring 11-year-old Frank Giaccio using a Honda lawnmower to trim the White House lawn. The company said it was not a paid product placement.
"We were just as surprised as you were," Honda Power Equipment spokesperson Kathy Graham said about the brand’s appearance in the video, which was tweeted on Friday by President Donald Trump. "We had nothing to do with this."
Graham explained that in 2011 Honda donated lawn equipment to the National Parks Service, which maintains the White House grounds.
Falls Church, Virginia, resident Giaccio wrote a letter to Trump this year asking if he could mow the White House lawn. His wish was granted, and top-tier outlets such as NBC News covered the moment on Friday when Giaccio was so focused on the lawn maintenance at hand that he didn’t notice Trump had walked over to talk to him.
#Frank trended on Twitter on Friday, and social media users questioned if Honda’s presence was a product placement.
Nice Honda ad. Did Frank get paid for his endorsement? Or is the kick back just to the White House?— Rangermonk (@rangermonk1) September 17, 2017
Props to Frank but, dude, seriously, how much did Honda grease ur palm with 4 those "product placement" shots; espec that last 1??? Hokey— Laurie-Ann Curry (@Heartseasefarm) September 17, 2017
Some Twitter users suggested Honda should give products to Giaccio or use him in a commercial.
@Honda should outfit this kid with all new equipment after this free ad for them. Good job, Frank.— Top208/Baleroni (@Balerion_) September 16, 2017
Hey @Honda Frank Giaccio, the boy who mowed White House Lawn yesterday, used a Honda Lawnmower. Honda should put him in a commercial.— Jaxmobile (@JaxMobile) September 16, 2017
Honda has no plans to capitalize on the situation, Graham said.
"As Honda was not involved in this, we don't think it is appropriate for us to put any [statements] out," Graham said. "It was a nice opportunity for [Giaccio], and we think it should remain about him."