How Hyundai And Kevin Bacon Outsmarted The Super Bowl

It's hard not to like Hyundai's campaign for the all-electric Ioniq 6. It stars Kevin Bacon, who happily becomes a source of constant embarrassment to his daughter Sosie.

Marketers looking for exceptional return on investment have a reason to love it -- it got plenty of Super Bowl glory at none of the Super Bowl price.

In a presentation at MediaPost Automotive's recent show in New York, Kate Fabian, director of marketing communications for Hyundai, revealed just how much mileage it got from the canny media strategy.

While many viewers (including yours truly) rated it as one of their favorite spots of this year's game, it didn't actually run.

"This was the second year when we asked our agency, 'How can we win the Super Bowl without actually being in the Super Bowl?'"



It ran often and in many channels in the pre-game hoopla, however, catching the glow generated by the coming Big Game.

She says the creative in the campaign works so well because of natural give-and-take between the two, eye-rolling included. "They have this great dynamic," she said.

The gap between a daughter who is cool and a father who just thinks he is created just the demographic opening the ads needed. The campaign playfully challenges older consumers' fears about switching to an EV lifestyle. "Our EVs target a customer who is younger, while Hyundai has traditionally had an older audience," she said.

Social media underpinned the media approach. "Both Kevin and Sosie have a huge social following, and as we move into the electrified space, we're attracting a much younger audience. They're not watching TV. They're looking at TikTok."

So the team created a number of social vignettes -- each aimed at breaking down people's negative perceptions about EVs, including how long they take to charge.

Just before the AFC championship games, Hyundai launched a wave of social, using influencers to amplify that content.

Then it ran the spot in the AFC and NFC championship games, "which got almost the same amount of eyeballs as the Big Game," she said.

All that was enough to earn it a place in some of the "Best Spots of the Super Bowl" round-ups, including YouTube's AdBlitz.

"And we did all of this for a third of the price that would've cost us if we aired a spot in Super Bowl," she said. "Not only that, but we also got a head start on the competition. We couldn't be happier."

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