Oct 1, 2007

Thinking About Hyundai

I have to say I'm really digging the new Hyundai campaign via San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein (can't assume everyone reading this is a creative anymore).

There are the TV spots above, the very nicely done website, and smart print ads with lines like “Shouldn’t a car have more air bags than cupholders?” and "Are car companies committed to quality, or to the phrase ‘committed to quality’?”

And while I really like the campaign on its own merits, it also gets Toad's Right Ads @ The Right Time Award.

Let me explain: 5 years ago, this campaign would have been laughable. Hyundais were crappy cars made in Korea and no one could pronounce the name of the company (and as Bill "Make The Logo Bigger" Green and JetPacks have pointed out, the logo sucks.)

But lately I've been hearing a lot of positive buzz about Hyundai. And I'm by no means a car guy. Various auto publications have liked Hyundai's cars better than the more expensive Japanese imports. Plus I'm definitely starting to see more of them-- the Santa Fe SUV in particular-- on the leafy, sun-dappled streets of my upscale burb.

Given all the positive buzz, the time seems perfect for a campaign like this, a campaign designed to move Hyundai into the space Volvo used to own (before they decided to try and become the Swedish Mercedes) and that Subaru kind of owns: the smart, safe car for people who could spend a lot of money on a car but choose not to. An anti-status symbol of sorts.

This is a perfect case study of how advertising can help build on buzz, rather than the other way around. Because the buzz here is authentic, e.g. the only thing Hyundai did to create it was to make better cars. And so the advertising can reinforce the buzz because it's based on truth, not smoke and mirrors.

Advertising. It's not rocket science ;)

(Side note: speaking of cars on the leafy, sun dappled streets of my upscale burb, I've noticed a dramatic increase lately in the number of Range Rovers. My suspicion is that this is largely due to the fact that Range Rover is the only luxury car brand that doesn't also have an undistinguised $28K model (yes, I know, but it's called a Land Rover, not a Range Rover.) That, and the Range Rover has a very noticeable shape which immediately lets people know you're the sort of person who can spend $80K on a car.)

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