Hyundai has had a lot of good fortune with its tentpole media strategy over the past few years. The automaker has pretty much remade itself, and promoted those changes through the Super Bowl, and other sports and entertainment programs. Hyundai, which has just signed a four-year sponsorship deal with the NFL, will take its message to the biggest tent with four TV spots running before, just before, and during the Super Bowl 50th next week.
Dean Evans, CMO at Fountain Valley, Calif.-based Hyundai Motor America, explains to Marketing Daily that, while Hyundai sat out the game last year, this is one not to be missed. “We have had several years of consecutive sales gains, and sold our 10 millionth car in the U.S. this year. And we are launching the 2017 Elantra, and we have a new brand platform.”
A 60-second ad, “Better,” in the pre-game show introduces the new platform and brand theme, the double entendre, “We Make Things Better.” The spot follows a newborn through adolescence into to adulthood and his job at Hyundai. The ad evinces the idea of human-focused technology by giving the character a little engine for a heart. It glows Hyundai blue as he grows up and makes his way through life, meeting other people with the same heart, including those who become his collaborators at Hyundai.
Says Tim Blett, EVP and managing director at Hyundai’s AOR, Huntington Beach, Calif.-based Innocean U.S.A, “We have fine-tuned the brand positioning, and this spot provides clarity around what our purpose is; it’s our point of view that purpose driven brands have more momentum.”
There is another 60-second spot in the pre-kick time slot, and two :30s during the game. The spots, two of which feature Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds, spotlight the 2017 Elantra and 2016 Genesis sedans, but a big focus is on safety technology, and the automaker’s Blue Link connected-car technology suite.
One humorous spot, in the second quarter, could be a trailer for a horror movie; grizzlies chase a lost, desperate couple through a forest. They break into a clearing, and as they sprint toward their Elantra, the bears crashing through the woods behind them, the guy orders the vehicle to start by speaking into his smart watch.
Comic actor Kevin Hart is in the pre-kickoff ad, a spot that touts the Blue Link Car Finder feature, because he’s a dad, and his daughter is on a date with a young lothario. He shows up, in absurd ways, wherever the two are parked.
The bear chase spot is in the first quarter, and then the second :30 is in the second quarter, and it has Ryan as an object of desire — several objects — for a pair of women driving an Elantra through a town in which every single person is Ryan. Not surprising: they are distracted, which lets Hyundai spotlight safety technology, including the car’s ability to stop when it senses pedestrians crossing in its path. The pedestrian is Ryan, now a dog walker, with his charges.
Says Evans, “Being able to bring in humor and combining that with a universal truth, that is part of storytelling, and we wrap up with strong celebrities. It helps people relate to the brand better, and these stars today have a huge social following; the ability to tap into their network is a big part of the value proposition. Kevin Hart, for instance, has around 23 million followers.”
Blett adds that the “Ryanville" ad is meant to tap into a social issue “that everyone is facing: distracted driving. Our advanced safety-technology message comes to life — that the new Elantra is the only car in its class with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection feature.”
The lead-up campaign kicked off on Jan. 21, powered with social elements on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google search and digital combinations of paid and unearned media. “We’ll be working that all the way through to the game and then after,” says Blett, who tells Marketing Daily that Innocean has set up a social media “war room” in its Story Lab division to build social amplification leading up to and during the game. “It is armed pretty much like a newsroom, where we track social and look at opportunities to connect with other brands.”
Finally, Hyundai will have a big presence in San Francisco, the host city, as part of its exclusivity deal with the NFL.
“The main point is we aren’t just partnering with the NFL to go slap on TV commercials during the game,” says Evans. “We have to be more engaging with fans.”
At the nine-day Super Bowl program in the Bay Area, starting Jan. 30, Hyundai will have some 400 vehicles on the ground. It will also be part of experiential programs at the “NFL Experience Driven by Hyundai” and at Super Bowl City. On game day, Hyundai will have an exhibition at Gameday Fan Plaza. On the ground, it will showcase the Tucson fuel cell vehicle and Sonata plug-in hybrid
“We will have hundreds of thousands of people visiting our experiences, and going forward, the NFL is really 12 months per year, so we will look at how do we can develop the relationship, and optimize it all year.”