South Korea- based Hyundai has been on a roll in the past several years, with much-improved products that have boosted sales and lifted the brand’s image around the world.
Why mess with success, right?
The marketing “gurus” at the Mother Ship in Seoul decided it was time for Hyundai’s first worldwide ad campaign to build a consistent global message for the brand. Or maybe they felt it was time to flex their authoritative muscles or justify their positions.
What did they come up with? A new brand campaign themed “Live Brilliant.”
Take a look at this lame attempt to stir emotions, just one of four :60 television commercials in the series
How does this differentiate Hyundai from others? Not much. Seems you could just pick another car brand and insert it into this spot. Also don’t see how this ties to Hyundai’s stated strategy to reinforce its new brand direction of “Modern Premium.”
Who uses the word “brilliant” anyway, unless you’re talking about your kids?
Believe it or not, Hyundai says it spent a year doing leg work preparing for this, including consumer research. Then it shot the commercials over 10 days in Los Angeles earlier this year.
And the Mother Ship spent some dough on this, hiring award winning German director Juergen Bollmeyer and buying “Departures,” the song from “Like Crazy,” which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Drama last year at Sundance.
What Hyundai’s Mother Ship DIDN’T do was consult in other regions with its marketing chiefs or officials from Innocean, the ad agency owned by Hyundai’s controlling family. Instead, the Mother Ship simply forced this work down their throats, regional strategies be damned.
Mind you, Hyundai in North America just launched its new ad slogan “New Thinking. New Possibilities” about 14 months ago. It takes a lot of time for the public to grasp new ad themes. Sometimes people never catch on to ad tags, especially if they are inane, which too many of them are.
We’re not a fan of the Mother Ship dictating ads to other parts of the world.
Here’s some examples. From Japan, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. decided in 2011 it was time for its Subaru of America arm to use the new ad theme “Confidence in Motion,” which has zero emotional appeal. From Germany, Volkswagen insisted in 2009 that VW of America use “Das Auto” to convey German engineering. DUH!
Hyundai’s “Brilliant” idea?
I think not.
His year-old shop, Jackson & Partners, is relocating from Las Vegas to Midtown Detroit and expects to create 30 news jobs in the next three years. Jackson’s partners are Detroit-area native and auto creative chief Gary Topolewski, along with Randy Easterbrook, an indie communications consultant who has done work for many big companies, including General Motors and Mini.
Jackson joined GM in 2000 as executive director of sales and marketing support, but he rose to VP-marketing and advertising for North America in 2006, overseeing a $2-billion-plus ad budget. He left GM and Detroit in 2007. Since then he was CEO of SPEEDSHAPE, worked at digital shop Sarkissian Mason and more recently VP of global sales and distribution for Coda in California.
J&P’s current client roster includes auto dealers on both coasts, plus brand-building work for a nationally-known jewelry group.
Mr. Easterbrook is in the process of moving from New York.
Topolewski’s experience includes Jeep at Bozell, where he and his team won a Gold Lion at Cannes; Cadillac at Leo Burnett; and Nissan, Taco Bell and Apple at TBWA/Chiat/Day.
Good luck, guys!
MAKING TRACKS TOO: Bob Rickert has joined the Denver-area office of HMH as executive creative director, handling accounts that include Nike, Freightliner, Detroit Diesel and Dr. Martens. Rickert had stints at David&Goliath on Kia and Saatchi & Saatchi on Toyota.
You can find me, Jean Halliday, on Facebook and LinkedIn and also on Twitter @ jhal2001