As part of its "Big Voices in Big Places" strategy, Hyundai Motor America will be, for the third consecutive year, auto-exclusive sponsor of the Academy Awards. The Fountain Valley, Calif. automaker will air nine TV ads during TV coverage of the event on ABC. As he did last year, the voice of Hyundai advertising Jeff Bridges will be absent as a voice in four of the spots because he is up for an award for "True Grit."
As sponsor of the 83rd Academy Awards on Feb. 27, on ABC the automaker will air two pre-show spots and seven ads during the awards ceremony itself. For four of the ads surrounding the "Best Actor" award -- for which Bridges is nominated -- actor Jason Bateman will be voiceover talent.
The ads, some of which first aired during the Super Bowl this year, will tout the Sonata, Sonata Turbo, Sonata Hybrid, the new Elantra, the Genesis and the Equus sedan, Hyundai's flagship car. Two of the ads, which will run in ad pods around the broadcast of the red carpet entrances, will talk about the three power train options for Sonata, and the Equus sedan.
In December Hyundai began selling the 2011 Elantra, and advertising has touted the vehicle as a car that offers the benefits of smaller size -- such as fuel efficiency -- without compromises.
Brandon Ramirez, Hyundai product planning manager, says a key marketing message for Elantra is that one does not have to pay a premium for higher fuel-efficiency, as all trim levels of the vehicle get 40 mpg or more highway. "If you look at buyer studies in the compact car class, the most important purchase consideration is fuel economy. We also did focus groups and found that people shopping compact cars are willing to sacrifice design and roominess to get the fuel economy they want. So we said we would offer design, roominess and best in class fuel economy." He says 47% of compact car drivers downsize from larger cars.
The car, which Hyundai offers in two trim levels -- a volume model starting at around $14,800, and a premium trim -- has far fewer configurations than the late model, which launched four years ago. "When we launched 2007 model we launched with 15 configurations," says Ramirez. "But we found dealers and customers couldn't find a version they liked." He says the company expects to sell about 100,000 of the vehicles this year.
Later this year comes a completely new vehicle from the automaker. The Veloster will be a compact crossover along the lines of sibling Kia's Soul (though visually much different as it adheres to Hyundai's "Fluidic Motion" design philosophy.)
Ramirez says the vehicle (like Soul) will be marketed to a younger buyer, as the automaker has no vehicle right now specifically designed to appeal to such consumers. He said, for example, that the median age for the Elantra customer is somewhat north of 50. "When we get into that launch we have lots of innovative technology specifically targeted at these buyers," he says. The company later this year is also launching a redesigned version of its smallest car, Accent.