Hyundai Motor America Chief Marketing Officer Angela Zepeda says the brand will once again sit out the Big Game in February, instead breaking “Super Bowl-worthy” creative during the conference championship games.
The focus of the campaign will be the recently introduced 2024 Santa Fe SUV.
The last time the automaker appeared in the Super Bowl was in 2020, with its Boston-themed “Smaht Pahk” spot featuring Boston celebrities Chris Evans, John Krasinski, "Saturday Night Live" alum Rachel Dratch and Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz.
“We talk about Super Bowl every year, it is always highly considered,” Zepeda tells Marketing Daily. “It is never off the table. And would we go back? Sure. I think it's just when and will it make the right best sense for us? We talked about it very seriously this year for Santa Fe, but I think just again, this was another year that was unpredictable, and I would say bumpy."
Ultimately, the automaker has had a good year, she says, but "we didn't have a clear crystal ball on how it was really going to end up. I mean, we always have high aspirations, but it was full of its own challenges that we overcame.”
Zepeda says she thinks 2024 is going to be equally as challenging.
“I think affordability is becoming a big issue,” she says. "And I think the fact that all the inventory is back with all the competitors is that consumers just have choice again. And that's where I think Hyundai did really well during COVID, when the competition didn't have as many cars on the ground. We were raised up as a viable choice in consumer's mind. But now that there's a lot more choice, it's just like everything else. How do you stay top of mind?”
In a wide-ranging sit-down interview last week, Zepeda also said the brand has not advertised on the social media platform X recently, and has no plans to going forward.
“We are not a big advertiser on it and never have been from the marketing standpoint. We use it as more of a PR platform,” she says. “So we've not really changed our use of it. It's remained very static for us. It's another platform to get out communications, and we understand the polarization that's happening on it. But again, it had never played the biggest role in our makeup of what we do.”
The automaker has just signed a deal to advertise its SUVs during the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris in July and August, she says.
Back to the pre-Super Bowl campaign, Zepeda declined to say whether the spots would feature a celebrity such as last year’s popular electric vehicle-focused spots featuring actor Kevin Bacon and his daughter.
“We’re still working through those elements,” she says. “The concept is very, very good and strong. We have a new chief creative officer at Innocean, Jason Sperling, so this'll be his first big launch with us. He did the Kona launch for us, which was 'Welcome Back to the Commute,' but this is even bigger. It is a big epic-like spot and we're still working through all of who's actually being cast in it.”
The brand is also planning a big campaign around its expanded relationship with Amazon in the spring, she says.
“It's just an incredible platform,” Zepeda says. “So they've been a great partner for us, and it has been a long time coming. We were excited to announce it. So when the full product is ready to launch, which will be the spring when it's planned, we'll do a big consumer-facing campaign. And I think that's when people will really understand we're together with them.”
Hyundai has been working closely with Amazon for some time. In 2021, the two companies announced an expanded digital showroom on Amazon.
“We did ads on Amazon to drive people to the showroom,” she says. “But the thing that's really interesting, even with that small effort the last couple of years, the customer that is looking for our Hyundai vehicles probably has never even looked for a car on our Hyundaiusa.com site. So it's a completely different customer. It's like 70% of the people who are shopping who have shopped for a car on Amazon never had looked at us in any other place.
“It's just a different customer completely, which we love. This is a really fresh perspective of Hyundai on Amazon.”