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.

Follow me, Jean Halliday,  on Forbes.com, LinkedIn, Facebook

And on Twitter @jhal2001

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