Hyundai Santa Fe Tells Zombies: 'Make My Day'

The New York Comic Con at the Jacob Javits Center last weekend was a dangerous place to be. It had exhibits about zombies, people dressed up as zombies, and arguably real zombies dressed up as people. Zombies are big right now. They are part of the global-disaster zeitgeist. They're everywhere: in books, on TV, in a bunch of recent movies, and there are probably a few in Congress. 

And on Sunday night everyone's favorite zombie romp, AMC's "The Walking Dead," was back. Hyundai Motor America, having survived last season, was back with the show too. The automaker had product integration in the TV show, as well as activations around it and thematic advertising supporting it. 

The automaker's central element -- both at Comic-Con and in a new TV spot -- is a zombie-proof version of the Santa Fe, whose design the automaker chose from among thousands created by consumers using the “Walking Dead Chop Shop” app built by AOR Innocean USA. The company is also using the TV spot to promote the Android/iOS app itself. 



The app was launched during San Diego Comic-Con via a promotion in which people could use it to modify Veloster Turbo, Santa Fe or Elantra and enter their design for a chance to have it built. After over 150,000 downloads and modifications, the automaker chose one from a field of some 82,500 submissions: an armored Santa Fe by one Anson Kuo. Real-life chop shop Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) built a real version, and last weekend the vehicle got an official unveiling at Hyundai's booth under the aegis of Future US, which has overseen the experiential elements of the project.

The new TV spot shows a post-apocalyptic suburban street where a group of survivors meets a redoubtable zombie hunter. Then we see the zombie hunter's ride, which is Kuo's modified Santa Fe. The guy who noticed the vehicle laments that all he has is a sharpened stick. 

The Comic Con program included a Friday night invitation-only, celebrity-sprinkled event leveraging Hyundai's partnership with “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman’s Skybound imprint at Image Comics. The event, celebrating the 10th year of the "Walking Dead" property, featured a screening of a documentary called "The Walking Dead: A Decade Of Dead." 

"We were lucky to get involved in the show in Season Two, and that has been just building ever since," says Steve Shannon, Hyundai Motor America VP marketing. He tells Marketing Daily that the automaker also has product integration in the show — a kiwi green Tucson, which is one of the hero vehicles that shows up from time to time. "It has a significant presence in several episodes per season;  it's almost a character."

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