You don't have to be a sheep and you don't have to accept conditioning. No, it's not a political slogan from a George Orwell novel. It's the theme of Hyundai Motor America's new ad campaign for the 2011 Elantra. The automaker is touting both Elantra and Sonata with four new ads, some of which will run as part of its buy on the Super Bowl.
The ads, via Innocean Worldwide Americas, will first air this weekend during the broadcast of the AFC Championship game on Sunday. Also in the two weeks leading up to the Bowl game, the spots will run as unbranded, viral online videos. And print, digital and direct marketing elements will also start before the Super Bowl, during which Hyundai will run three ads.
This is the fourth consecutive year in which the Fountain Valley, Calif.-based auto company has advertised during the national Super Bowl broadcast, and the first time it has tied the media buy to a campaign starting during the divisional championships.
"Over the years, the Super Bowl has provided a great avenue for us to reach a significant audience, and this year we are expanding that reach by jumpstarting the campaign two weeks early during the AFC Championship game," said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America, in a statement. "Having a fully integrated campaign leading up to the Big Game next month will allow us to build a story that makes a dramatic statement."
The two Elantra ads, with a "Snap Out of It" theme, suggest that people are driving ugly, unstylish, cramped compact cars because they have been conditioned since birth to accept those constraints. One ad about how roomy the new Elantra is shows home movies of little kids crammed into little toy cars and car-shaped swings, and beds from which their legs protrude. The other spot shows people in an Elantra noticing that all of the other cars around them being driven, literally, by sheep (not gerbils -- that would be Kia Soul's campaign).
The company says the Super Bowl campaign will involve a viral campaign using 10 online parody spots that discuss a global "conspiracy" behind "compact car hypnosis." The shorts, like the ads themselves, are shot to look like consumer-generated content. They direct viewers to an unbranded microsite that expands upon the compact car conspiracy. Only on Super Bowl Sunday will Hyundai reveal the truth about the ads, and then it will also launch the other two "Snap Out of It" ads.