Hyundai rides advertising momentum into the Oscars
Photo credit: Reuters
As millions of Americans watch the stars on Oscar night March 7, Hyundai will air eight commercials, one during the red carpet walk and the seven other during the show at an estimated cost of about $2.5 million to $2.8 million for each 30-second spot.
“For the whole evening, it will be about the same cost as for the Super Bowl,” said Joel Ewanick, marketing vice president at Hyundai Motor America. “We’re very excited,” he says. “Our Web traffic since Super Bowl (on Feb. 7) is higher than it was during cash-for-clunkers which went for 40 to 50 days.”
Hyundai is on a roll. It was one of only three brands to post a U.S. sales increase last year -- while the market as a whole plunged 21 percent. Sales increased 24 percent in January 2010 over January 2009.
Hyundai has intentionally picked big events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars to showcase its products and garner more attention to the brand name.
It first went on the Super Bowl in 2008. During the past two years, Hyundai’s Web site traffic would ebb about four days after the big game, Ewanick said. But this year, the site continued to gain momentum leading to Hyundai’s next big advertising event -- the Academy Awards, he said.
Purchase indicators -- people either configuring vehicles online or asking for a quote or test drive -- are up 250 percent over the same time last year, Ewanick said.
“Between the Super Bowl and Academy Awards, we are seeing our strategy unfold,” he said. “This is a significant change in the way Americans are looking at Hyundai.”
At the heart of the award show spots will be Hyundai’s redesigned Sonata mid-sized sedan, which the Korean automaker is aggressively promoting to go against big sellers such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. And, for the first time, Hyundai will use female voices to narrate the spots.
Hyundai generally uses the voice of actor Jeff Bridges, but due to Academy rules, Bridges had to take a temporary bye since he has been nominated for his role in the movie “Crazy Heart.”
That caused Hyundai to scramble for a new voice. But to the rescue came not one, but four actors and three actresses, including Kim Basinger, Richard Dreyfuss and Martin Sheen.
“Maybe 60 percent of the audience will be women,” said Ewanick, thrilled that there will be female voices on some of the spots.
Basinger will provide the voiceover for a spot called “Collision” that talks about the safety features of the luxury Genesis sedan. Dreyfuss’ voice will be used on two Sonata spots -- both aimed at young people. One, called “Room,” shows a teen in his bedroom; the other, called “Bungee,” shows wild bungee jumps.
There will be three other Sonata spots, including one narrated by Sheen on the vehicle’s production at the Hyundai plant in Alabama. The remaining two spots will focus on the Genesis.