If holiday campaigns are any indication, the good times are back -- or at least it is okay to suggest the worst of the recession is over.
Hyundai is launching a humorous, decidedly upbeat campaign to get people into its showrooms over the holiday. If that sounds familiar, it might be because crosstown rival Honda is doing likewise. Hyundai eschews the weightier message about the meaning of value that were much more the rage last year, when people were far less apt to buy a new car, and marketers focused more on issues of trust and quality than timely deals and cash offers.
Hyundai's new effort features Internet duo Pomplamoose (Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn) who sing holiday songs for the campaign. The two perform "Deck the Halls" in a spot for the Genesis; "Up on the Roof Top" for the Sonata; and "Jingle Bells" for Accent, Elantra, and Santa Fe.
The ads -- voiced by actor Jeff Bridges, who signed on in 2007 to do voiceovers for Hyundai commercials -- also take the unusual tack of not merely using YouTube sensations as talent, but recreating the whole do-it-yourself zeitgeist within the world of the ads.
In other words, the spots look like they were shot in the duo's own living room with web cams, albeit with a much more scintillating color palette than one usually sees on self-produced social videos. The creative also has something of a music-studio feel, with brightly colored Hyundai vehicles as props. The camera cuts between the duo doing the business of recording the music with instruments and mikes and performing for the camera.
In addition to TV, the effort has radio; digital elements such as banner ads and elements on Hyundai.com; social media outreach on YouTube and Facebook; point-of-purchase materials; and email and direct mail CRM.
The brighter tones might be warranted. TrueCar.com, a consumer automotive shopping and price-comparison site that culls pricing trend data from some 4,000 dealerships around the country, has raised its 2011 forecast to 12.7 million units based on its predictions for December, which it says will be the strongest month of the year.
TrueCar sees new light-vehicle sales for November at 868,283 units -- up 16% from last November but down 9% from October 2010. If applied to the whole year, TrueCar's November predictions would mean 12.23 million new car sales, nearly flat from last month but up from 10.92 million in November last year.
"Several consecutive months of year-over-year retail sales improvements indicate that the recovery in consumer demand has not been a coincidence," says Jesse Toprak, VP of Industry Trends and Insight for TrueCar.com, in a release. He predicts that December sales will be the best sales of the year, driven by year-end clearance events like Honda and Hyundai's and new vehicles coming on sale in the next couple of months.