Hyundai Makes Music 'Times Square' For Its Marketing

iheartradioLike many brands, Hyundai makes music a big component of its marketing, whether it's for the brand or for particular models. To the benefit of the latter (the 2015 Sonata), the automaker sponsored a one-time concert by singer Carrie Underwood Dec. 9 around the release of “Greatest Hits: Decade #1.” The concert and media extensions, via Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, involved -- among other things -- an invite-only concert at iHeartRadio Theater in Tribeca. Hyundai was title sponsor. David Matathia, director of marketing communications at Hyundai Motor America, talks to Marketing Daily about the campaign.

Q: How were you involved in the Times Square aspect of the concert? 



A: Our Times Square board, which is close to iHeart’s [Clear Channel Outdoors], had a cool countdown signage starting a couple of hours before the show, drawing attention to iHeartRadio's board. So we kind of had the boards talking to each other, which is a cool extension of the whole thing. 

Q: Why did you decide to do this essentially one-off event?

A: [iHeartRadio] is a great partner, because they are really a one-stop shop for a lot of different extensions. If you look at the concert event, out of home, digital across some of their properties, and obviously the radio promotions, we get a lot of awareness. We are in midst of the launching the lSonata, so we were looking for things we could do in the fourth quarter to bring that quick lift in awareness. This was a case where we could go to them with some thoughts, and with their great history in music, ask them what they had going on. And here was this turnkey event that lined up with our timing. It was a nice little bump to the overall launch, a way to get the word out that the Sonata is all new. 

Q: Why is Carrie Underwood a good match for this?

A: She has great mainstream appeal across genres, from country to pop. And with Sonata being in the largest car segment, midsize, with a wide array of owners, this was an ideal way to speak to this broad audience with someone who has crossover appeal.

Q: This was an audio broadcast, without video. How did you use it to promote Sonata?

A: We ran the contest part of the show, and we were presenting sponsors of the entire experience. Basically in all mentions of the show across iHeart's digital radio, we were mentioned as well. All the digital banners click through to the Sonata Web site, which is also a deep experience that includes a custom video series, and a lot of different tools around configuring and pricing. 

Q: What else is Hyundai doing around music?

A: We are the official music partner of the Grammys, and we have a history of licensing music and creating music. We licensed Bruno Mars’ song [“Count On Me”] for our Super Bowl spot this year, for example. Music helps us tell stories where we need to do that, whether it's projects like Re:Generation [a program focused on the Veloster model], or the Grammy Amplifier program about unearthing undiscovered talent. 

Q: Do you see metrics or engagement data around music and how it helps the brand? 

A: There is a definite impact on likability and brand linkage. We are doing a Sonata ad right now featuring a Joan Jett song. A song can take you back, and people start to associate that with the brand: 'There's that great song, and I know it from some point in my life and it's in that Hyundai ad.' It helps with linkage and association and if people take that away, it's one thing that helps us cut through more.
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