During his tenure as Hyundai’s pitchman, Bridges was the voice of several major product launches and marketing efforts, including the heavily advertised Hyundai Assurance program from 2009 to 2011. For that campaign, Bridges delivered a promise to recession-shocked shoppers that Hyundai would buy back their new vehicle if they lost their job, filed for bankruptcy or became disabled.
“We had a great run with Jeff, but these things don’t last forever,” David Matathia, director of marketing communications at Hyundai, said in an interview. “Our products have evolved, our lineup has evolved and we really look at it as a new brand. So we felt like the time was right to introduce a new voice.”
Matathia said that executives were especially impressed with Rudd’s range. During a tryout for the job, he showed that he had the gravitas for premium products like the Genesis and Equus sedans, and the playfulness for youth-oriented products such as the Veloster hatchback.
Rudd will provide voiceovers for all Tier 1 spots, including TV, radio and some online communications. But one thing that Rudd will not do -- though Matathia says it was discussed in brainstorm sessions -- is make reference to his Anchorman co-star Will Ferrell, who assumed his character from the film last fall in a series of advertisements for the Dodge Durango.
Hyundai's U.S. sales this year rose 1.7 percent through August. Sonata sales rose 8 percent. The overall U.S. market is up 5 percent.