Hyundai Uses Vikings, 'Barracuda' To Showcase Santa Fe Capabilities

Hyundai Motor America hopes to once again “hack” the Super Bowl by releasing a splashy campaign in the run-up to the Big Game. 

The automaker is launching the effort for the all-new 2024 Santa Fe SUV during the AFC and NFC football championship games on Jan. 28. 

“We want to take advantage of football. We love this audience,” Hyundai Motor America CMO Angela Zepeda tells Marketing Daily. “And we’re the sponsor for Sunday Night Football. We also bought Thursday night football this year. This is huge for us, but we're still in a time of figuring out the key way to spend our money, and this actually gets us a lot of mileage with a lot of eyeballs.”

During the Big Game, the spot could run via Tier 2 (regional media buys) in select markets. The last time the automaker bought a national Super Bowl spot was in 2020, she says. Although the spot isn’t considered for rankings like USA Today’s Ad Meter, consumers don’t know the difference between a national and regional spots.



“We'll treat it just like we have in years past where there'll be lots of social and digital and a lot of other elements around these games to make it feel big and epic,” she says. “But we want to take advantage of the audiences that'll tune in this Sunday.”

The creative shows a Viking family, including the pet wolf, going on a weekend adventure. But in the middle of setting up camp, a smart phone rings and suddenly the family morphs back to real people (and a non-wolf dog.) Once the call from work is satisfied, they are shown returning to their wild selves. 

The spot features the original 1977 hit “Barracuda” by Heart and a voiceover by Jason Bateman, who has starred in previous Hyundai spots and is the “voice” of the brand.

“This vehicle really delivers on capability — it's bigger, it's bolder, it's got the ability to really go off-road,” Zepeda says. “We wanted to go in this direction that because of the redesigned and epically capable Hyundai Santa Fe, your family can conquer the week -- and when the weekend rolls around, your family can conquer any adventure. In fact, the Santa Fe is so empowering, you may even feel like Vikings.”

The campaign was developed in collaboration with Hyundai’s agency of record, Innocean USA, while its media agency, Canvas, coordinated the media buys.

The spot takes the feeling that the SUV gives drivers and personifies it, says Jason Sperling, Innocean USA chief creative officer. 

“This car is the capability, the sort of rugged looks. It makes you feel incredibly like you can go out and do it all,” Sperling tells Marketing Daily “And if there ever was a type of people that can go out and do it all, it's Vikings.”

Following the championship games, 60-, 30- and 15- second spots will run throughout the year during various sporting events and across multiple broadcast, radio, social and digital media platforms.

The 15-second ads will specifically highlight new available features of the Santa Fe including the HTRAC all-wheel drive, best-in-class rear cargo space, dual wireless charging, panoramic display, third-row seating, tailgate and towing capabilities. 

One 15-second spot shows the SUV towing a Viking ship, Sperling says. 

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