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A Rebirth of Auto Advertising with Hyundai Leading the Way
By: Tom Roarty
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It has been almost a year since I wrote my first article for Talent Zoo on how the auto industry has some of the most formulaic, vanilla-style advertising techniques of any industry. At the time, apart from a few bright spots, it was true. However, this year's auto Super Bowl submissions have stepped it up, and I feel the need to acknowledge that after my first article.
Now, the last thing want to do is make this about Super Bowl advertising. I am sure that by the time this post goes live, that subject will have be beaten to death with everyone talking about the latest GoDaddy spot, but I would like to focus more on how far the industry has come, especially Hyundai. Yes, as people focus on the story behind the Ram ad and the controversy around Volkswagen's, Hyundai came in and really pushed their pledge to diversity.
There was no pulling of heartstrings or lingering exterior shots of a car you've seen a million times on any given highway. What you did get was a look at the Santa Fe and a simple message: “This vehicle is about now, and right now you could be having fun!” Choosing The Flaming Lips to provide the background music and appear in their first commercial of the night was nothing short of ballsy. Yes, the older generation will still be asking, “Is that bushy-haired fella in the commercial someone?” which is fine, because Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne is known by today's young, hip, adventurous Hyundai demographic as the human incarnation of “live for today.” With each adventure the Santa Fe took that family on, I wanted to be a part of it!
Their second spot of the night, which was for the Hyundai Turbo, showed a lot of, well, um, ass. But again it was a clever way of letting you know that no matter what is in front of you, whether it be an overweight biker or the business end of a horse trailer, the Turbo could easily help change your view by simply stepping on the peddle. So simplistic and yet highly effective. Especially in its ability to maintain the branded look of their first spot.
For Hyundai’s final spot of the night, the automaker once again turned to the Santa Fe. This time minus the Flaming Lips, and this ad was the target of the “modern mom.“ When her son is picked on by the less desirable kids of the neighborhood, this unsung hero takes her son in their seven-passenger Santa Fe to assemble a sandlot football team comparable to the mini Avengers. Without the minivan stigma, Hyundai found a way to market minivan flexibility in the coolest way possible in its answer to the much-needed family-size vehicle.
From an auto industry advertising standpoint, Hyundai really gambled in its effort, and in doing so shattered the mold associated with one of advertising's most (previously) boring genres. It is great to see the industry break away from closed test tracks, wind tunnels, and empty showrooms to focus on its product. For the record, Hyundai wasn’t the only talked-about auto ad as of late, but in my opinion, they did a fantastic job of separating themselves from their competition.

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