Tag Archives: social media

Hyundai’s Super Bowl Ads Better Than 2012

Hyundai Motor America took the wraps off its commercials for this year’s Super Bowl, the automaker’s sixth straight year as an advertiser in the Big Game.

The spots, at the time of writing, were still in rough cut and not available to post. (will add as soon as possible). But they should arrive today on You Tube, Facebook and other social mediums. Hyundai’s VP-marketing Steve Shannon told me yesterday the automaker is blasting the new ads out about 5 days earlier than last year ahead of Game Day in hopes of getting a bigger lift in online traffic and buzz.

SteveShannonIn the good old days before high-speed internet access reached the masses, Super Bowl viewers would have to wait until game day to first eye ball the commercials.

Shannon told me the spots have been pre-tested via focus groups with people screened for liking the Super Bowl and its ads.

I guess Hyundai and its ad agency Innocean USA in Huntington Beach, passed the test because the commercials are coming this week, along with an extra surprise Friday about a custom-written song in one of the spots from a psychedelic alternative rock band. Shannon said that on Jan. 25  Hyundai will announce the name of the band, which doesn’t do a lot of commercial work. The new song for Hyundai will be a bonus track on the band’s upcoming new album. And Hyundai will offer 100,000 free downloads of the song via iTunes on hyundai.com the same day the new album debuts.

That ought to stir some more buzz- at least with the folks who know and like this band.

The band members have several cameos in Hyundai’s only :60 spot. It’s for the new 7-passenger Sante Fe and airs in the slot before the kick-off. The name of the commercial, “Epic Play Date,” says it all. A montage, with just a splash of animation, shows a family moving from a pancake breakfast at home to a riotous day of fun. A saber-tooth tiger comes to life in a wild life museum,  ostriches chase the family at a petting zoo and there’s a game of outdoor bowling, with one of the sons inside a giant, blow-up bowling ball.

Actor Jeff Bridges does voice over for all the spots, which carry the two-year-old tag “New Thinking. New Possibilities.”

Hyundai has a pair of new :30s breaking IN the game.

The one in the first quarter, dubbed “Team,”is also for the launch of longer-wheel-based Sante Fe. A bullied young boy rounds up his dream team of friends to seek revenge in a football game. The song “Bang Your Head,” from Quiet Riot, plays through the spot as the boy’s Mom picks up his posse in the crossover suv. There’s no question at the end who will win the football game. The dream team of 6 kids in the Sante Fe are over-the-top. Among them: red-headed twins pumping serious iron and a bear wrestler. This spot has a nice football link, but not a real big finish.

In the second quarter, Hyundai has a another :30, called “Stuck” for the Sonata Turbo sedan. Because of the car’s zippy engine, the couple inside can easily pass a variety of vehicles they find offensive, including a hefty guy on a motor bike showing part of his derriere and animal-print panties, a tanker truck oozing some suspicious-looking green goop and big dogs slobbering out of an RV onto the Sonata’s windshield. The kicker at the end is delivered by actor Jeff  Bridges: “Trust us. It’s better to be in front.”

Hyundai’s fourth commercial is for the zippy Genesis R-Spec, a :30 that will also air in the pre-game broadcast. Named “Excited,” it shows the 8-speed car screaming around a race track as sportscaster Gus Johnson is heard in the background doing the play-by-play. On screen notices tell us how this 429-HP car bests a BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche in horsepower and/or 0-60.

Those stats are likely to shock fans of those German brands, but you can’t blame Hyundai for wanting to get the word out to 100-plus-million viewers. Still, this is not the place for bragging. Not to worry. This car-on-track spot isn’t interesting enough to cause a ruckus.

Hyundai’s fifth commercial isn’t new, it broke last fall as part of the launch of the smaller, 5-passenger Sante Fe. This this :30 spot, called “Drive In,” during the pre-game broadcast, was under the umbrella theme “Don’t Tell” (Mom or Dad) because each parent is doing exciting things with the kids without the other spouse. In case you haven’t seen it

I like the “Don’t Tell” series and gave it a nod in my Year In Review post.

“Stuck” for the Sonata Turbo should get plenty of laughs, and along with “Epic Play Date” for the Sante Fe are the best in my book from Hyundai’s game-day offerings this year. I predict the two will rank higher than Hyundai’s ads in last year’s Super Bowl, when the “Cheetah” spot for the Veloster Turbo ranked 23 by AdMeter. That was not the lowest-ranked car ad in the 2012 game, mind you. That “honor,” at Number 54, went to Team One USA and the Lexus GS ad it created.

We’ll just gave have to wait to see how all these spots perform after all Super Bowl viewers see them.

MAKING TRACKS: Sad to say Andy Prakken left Team Detroit, where he had been exec VP-chief media officer for 8 years, overseeing media planning and buying, brand content development and analytics operations for Ford in the US and the rest of the world. Andy worked on the Ford account since at least 1991, when he was a media director at J. Walter Thompson, one of Team Detroit’s predecessors.

Hmm, Andy’s departure coincides with the Team Detroit’s hiring of Betsy Lazar to his old job. My take is Andy either did not want to take a back seat to Lazar, who left General Motors after 20 years in 2009 to become VP-global media of Kellogg Co., or he got in sideways with his new boss at Team Detroit, Mark LaNeve, another GM grad who worked closely with Betsy. Not to worry. Someone will quickly swoop up Prakken.

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Ford Fusion Makes Rivals “Invisible”

Ford Motor Co. will be hammering away at how darn good-looking its 2013 Ford Fusion is in the multi-media launch blitz.

The automaker isn’t off base with this strategy, since the redone midsize sedan has gotten a slew of very positive ink for its good looks – not really a staple in the segment.

“The media  launch of the Fusion will showcase how Ford is shaking up the bland midsize sedan segment,” said Jim Farley, exec VP and group VP of global marketing, sales and service. “Why do car buyers have to sacrifice styling and forward-looking design for fuel economy? They don’t.”

This isn’t the first time a carmaker  has zeroed in on styling to push a midsize sedan. Most memorably, Nissan and its ad agency , TBWA, used “Cure for the Common Car” in fall 2001 to launch the 2002 Altima. Still, styling hasn’t traditionally been the focus to advertise cars in this category.

Ford and its ad agency, WPP Group’s Team Detroit in Dearborn, hired Chinese artist Liu Bolin as a consultant for the print ads. Bolin is known around the world for painting his body and clothes to camouflage himself in photographs and he helped TeamDetroit create print ads that make competitors’ cars invisible.

This behind-the-scenes video will give you a better look at Team Detroit’s Big Idea

The look of the ads is pretty cool and the Big Idea works with the strategy without being obnoxious or naming rivals.

The new Fusion is also on the back cover of Maxim’s annual “Best Stuff of the Year issue, due Nov. 18. Ford’s Mustang is on the magazine’s cover – a nice double play. Toby Barlow, chief creative officer of Team Detroit, said the magazine approached Ford, not visa versa.

Amy Marentic, group marketing manager at Ford,  said the Fusion launch ads try to use design and technology to stand out in the crowded midsize segment. “We also knew we had to appeal to the rational side, and the most rational thing about this car is the fuel economy,” she said.

So the ads do mention MPG. The theme line in the TV spots is : It’s an entirely new idea of what a car can be.”

The agency extended the “disappearing” act of the print ads to one of its three national TV commercials, like this :30 one :

The final editing of the final two spots got delayed by Super Storm Sandy; the outfit doing the work is based in lower Manhattan. One touts “while everyone else seems to be going in the wrong direction, Ford is not just going forward, it’s going in an entirely new direction.”

But the third spot is the most dramatic. This commercial, for the Fusion Hybrid, touts the car’s “outstanding performance” and estimated 100 mpg range.  It also shows viewers the only thing the car can’t do- drive off a cliff. Yes, Team Detroit “jumped” a new Fusion in a one-take shot in Vancouver and the ad should attract eyeballs. Once it breaks, there will be a behind-the-scenes video of how the spot was made. (The car used in the stunt isn’t drivable, Barlow said).

In typical Ford fashion, this big media part of the launch came only after a major pre-launch that started digitally with a big push in July. Marentic said Farley challenged her team to encourage 300,000 consumers to build and price the new Fusion before it went on sale.

Enter “Random Acts of Fusion,” a massive social media, online video effort starring Ryan Seacrest, Joel McHale and Kate Micucci. Ford launched the push on national TV in July, along with the site RandomActsofFusion.com. The push included scavenger hunts, local events and chances to win one of 3 Fusions.

In this video, McHale and Micucci explain how they’re going to create a documentary with the 100 new Fusions they got from Secrest.

OK. Not the funniest video ever and the others are similar in tone. Still, Ford said 2 million people have visited the Random site, which tallied more than 12 million video views. Plus, the push nearly doubled Farley’s goal for online Fusion build-and-pricing by consumers, reaching more than 520,000, Marentic said.

Ford isn’t done yet for the Fusion. Coming Thursday, Nov, 15 is “Go Further with Ford Night” at local dealers, named for the brand’s new ad tag. For each person who visits a participating Ford dealer that night, the dealer will donate $10 – up to a total of $500 – to a local charity. Some 2,200 Ford dealers have already signed up to participate, Marentic said. People who register at a dealership that day will be entered into a prize drawing to win a new Fusion.

Visitors 18 and older can also try to win a VIP trip to see the popular “American Idol” TV show by testing their talent judging skills on camera. Each dealership will have a webcam to see a special message from Seacrest before they do some judging on camera. (Ford has been a long-time backer of American Idol style, which returns in January on FOX.

Ford is certainly backing the new Fusion with a major push that should build street cred and sales for the car.

MAKING TRACKS: Ford Motor’s Jim Farley, already exec VP and group VP of global marketing, sales and service for the Ford brand, adds the Lincoln brand. Farley quickly moved Matt Van Dyke from US director of marketing communications for Ford and Lincoln to director of Lincoln globally for marketing, sales and service. He’ll report to Farley. The two men have known each other since 2000 and worked together when Farley headed Toyota’s lux Lexus brand and Van Dyke was the account chief at the brand’s ad agency, TeamOne.

Kevin Koeppen, who had been manager-advertising and media, succeeds Van Dyke.

You can find me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Forbes.com

On Twitter at jhal2001