February 20th, 2019 During the 53rd Superbowl, a nationally televised commercial aired on CBS during the first quarter of the football game. Hyundai released the advertisement “The Elevator” some minutes after 6:30 pm, the kickoff time for the game. According to Business Insider their 60-second spot was produced by “its agency of record, Innocean” and featured the 2020 Palisade SUV. I was watching the Superbowl when the commercial aired and the reactions of my fellow peers were very positive.
Hyundai of America is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motors, a Korean company.
The origins of the company are dated back to 1947 when Chung Ju Yung “founded the Hyundai engineering and construction company (autoinflunce). After 20 years, the Hyundai Motor company was born, and with it their first model the Cortina. After solid sales numbers they wanted to begin producing their own vehicles. With help from ItalDesign and Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors, Hyundai’s brand released their first Korean car in 1975, “The Pony” (globalcarsbrands). By 1985, Hyundai had produced over a million vehicles, and began making its way toward the United States.
According to AutoInfluence the brand released “The Excel” in 1986 and after 168,882 units were sold in first-year imports, Hyundai of America’s Excel made the Forbes list of Top 10 products with a price for the car just under five thousand dollars.
As they started to gain footing and good standard in the United States, the company began to start initiating and producing their own technology.
“Released in 1985, the Hyundai Sonata included a number of innovative features, like cruise control, head lamp washers, and power seats.
Engineers also included a trip computer, a feature that was soon included in many of the brand’s vehicles. With the company continuing to prove their ability to produce exclusive features and capabilities, sales continued to rise. By 1990, Hyundai has already produced four million vehicles, an absolutely incredible mark.” (autoinfluence)
Hyundai’s goal of expansion and innovation has been a success so far. Their next step was to produce their own engine. They released their first motor in 1993 succeeding past competition’s motors in torque and horsepower (globalcarsbrands). They also succeeded in building their own transmission, leading them to become one of the firsts to produce vehicles with a large combination of “brand-specific parts”. With all of the success, Hyundai America had become a leader of car sales in the U.S.
Around 1999, Chung Ju Yang, the founder of Hyundai Motors gave his leadership to his son Chung Mong Koo in order to increase the audience of their brand. With Koo running the company, “Hyundai launched an elaborate advertising and marketing campaign, and they also started offering ten-year/100,000-mile warranties on all vehicles sold in the United States.” In 2004 Hyundai was ranked second of “initial quality” by J.D. Power and Associates’ proving the success of their new campaign. In order to gain a larger, more worldwide audience, they made themselves the official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup (autoinfluence).
“As of 2014, Hyundai is the fifth largest automobile manufacturer in the world in terms of overall sales. The company has a yearly production output of 4,721,156 units and revenue exceeding US $86 billion. Not to mention, vehicles under Hyundai are sold in 193 countries and the company has more than 75,000 employees worldwide. Additionally, Hyundai operates the world’s largest car manufacturing facility, which is capable of producing 1.6 million vehicles each year” (globalcarsbrands).
Of course, Hyundai is not a perfect company, but they do well with customer relations and innovation. Their business portfolio promotes the mission statement “Hyundai engineering provides optimal solutions in various fields of industry” (HyundaiEngineeringCo). However, they still have some controversies and issues to deal with. The Environmental Protection Agency identified that “35 percent of their vehicles from 2011-2013 had inflated fuel-economy numbers”, and some customers have complained that one of their engines is not as powerful as advertised. However, the company has maintained their image as a premiere automotive brand. Due to steady increasing sales numbers, we should expect Hyundai to continue their growth as a power in the industry (autoinfluence).
Hyundai recently announced the national release of their new “Shopper Assurance Program” during the 2019 Super Bowl. Hyundai did an initial test run in four different markets including Miami, Orlando, Dallas, and Houston. It turned out to be more than popular enough to take it national. According to both autonews and CNet, 96% of customers either loved or liked the program’s car-buying service, and 56% said it played a role in their decision to buy a Hyundai.
‘The positive response to Shopper Assurance exceeded our expectations, and it’s clear that customers want a more convenient way to buy a car,’ said Dean Evans, chief marketing officer of Hyundai Motor America, in a news conference at the Chicago Auto Show. ‘Shopper Assurance is a differentiator for Hyundai and significantly improves the perception of the brand and our dealers. It is now available nationally because of the dedication of our dealers to deliver the best experience possible and adapt quickly to changing buyer preferences with new technologies and innovation.’ (CNet)
Hyundai has done a great job with creating a deeper engagement with their customers by making the whole process seem faster and easier.
There are four elements within the Shopper Assurance Program. The first, is transparent pricing. This includes participating Hyundai dealers posting the market prices of the vehicles they sell so that there is no misunderstanding or need for haggling on the price. Next, they implemented streamlined purchasing. Hyundai dealers can now offer online tools for shoppers to fil out paperwork online, greatly reducing what needs to be filled out at the dealership. The program has integrated test driving with convenience. This third component enables a shopper to test drive at any location they would like, so they could drive the vehicle in areas they drive regularly.
Finally, they added a 3-Day Worry-Free Exchange. If the customer happens to be unhappy with the vehicle they selected, they can return it in full and exchange it for another new Hyundai. This lets customers feel better about their purchase knowing they don’t necessarily need to love the car they purchase right away. Hyundai is then able to still maintain them as customers because their only other options are Hyundai’s. (HyundaiUSA). Hyundai has done very well with adding value and engagement into their process of buying a car. The ease of having the test drive come to you in the convenience of an app; and then being able to return the vehicle if they don’t like it will resonate with most of the car-shopping market. The uniqueness of the program also will lead customers to only investigate Hyundai, rather than waste time with competitors haggling for price. Technology has integrated itself with so much of current society, so it is smart of them to add it into the “experience” of their new program as well.
Super Bowl 53 commercial time-slots, aired on CBS, are one of the most expensive marketing techniques that exist with prices of $10.5 million every 30 seconds used. Hyundai has used this strategy the past three years, and many other times in the past 20. This year, their commercial “The Elevator”, was arguably their most successful yet. The focal point of the video was let the public know about their new way of car shopping in the “Shopper Assurance Program”. Without even talking about the new program, the elevator metaphor for car shopping made it clear in a humorous way that it will just make life easier and buying a car will be enjoyable with Hyundai.
According to prnewswire, Hyundai’s Super Bowl ad was developed by its agency of record, Innocean USA. Dean Evans, the chief marketing officer (CMO) for Hyundai USA, said “our dealers are using Shopper Assurance as a north star in helping evolve and improve the retail experience. This year’s Super Bowl spot communicates the program in a fun, lighthearted way that viewers will relate to.” The commercial was also directed by Jim Jenkins, a famous commercial director who has worked on past successful Hyundai Super Bowl ads, including their “Team” commercial in 2013. Jim Jenkins was also the director of many other Super Bowl commercials this year. Including “Special Delivery” by Bud Light, and “Brady Bunch” by Snickers. His website opositivefilms contains many more current big budget commercials as well. The 60-second ad aired during the first-quarter of the game and starred Jason Bateman, whose acting career has blown up in the past 15 years. He can be recognized from famous television like Arrested Development, which has received multiple Grammy’s; and he’s starred in many movies including Zootopia, which has a rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Using a well-known sarcastically funny actor like Bateman was a great decision to reflect the comedy and quality of their commercial and product.
The commercial starts off in an elevator, of which is operated by Jason Bateman. A happy couple enters the packed elevator and explains they are going car shopping. Bateman immediately knows they’re going down, or “WAY down” as he said in the commercial. This puts the image that car shopping in the past has always been a process nobody looks forward too. The elevator then descends and stops on floors like “Root Canal”, “Middle Seat”, and “The Talk”. Reluctant to what they see on each floor, the other passengers of the elevator step off. However, the couple are still in the elevator, which suggests that all of those horrible experiences are still preferable over car shopping.
The marketing team for the commercial also did a great job of incorporating humor into each of the floors traveled to which helps viewers relate to the feeling of the car shoppers in the elevator. For example, when the elevator stopped on “Jury Duty”, Bateman said “remember! Innocent until proven…well, he did it, I think we can all agree he did it”. Once he sees the scary looking man on trial, he changed his opinion to he knew that man did whatever crime. It’s a funny play on the judicial system of the US on how when a crime is obvious, we still have to treat them as innocent until their guilt is proven by court. It got a laugh out of everyone I was in the room with watching for the first time during the super bowl. The elevator continues to then go down, making car shopping seem worse and worse.
The Elevator then hits a vegan party, something very few would be excited for. However, there was a tiny bit of backlash towards Hyundai for making fun of vegan dinner parties. According to the Washington Post, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) was taking shots at Hyundai for going down to vegan dinner parties when “the trend of 2019 is taking the elevator UP to vegan dinner parties (and an Earth, heart, and animal-friendly lifestyle)” attempting to give a hit to Hyundai. However, Michael Stewart, a spokesman for Hyundai USA said, the ad “has been terrific”, and the ad was fourth in USA Today’s Ad Meter which is ranked by fans, and it was in the top automotive spot. Finally, the last stop on the way down was for car shopping. It showed a dealership with a bunch of those inflatable air dancers and extremely loud music. Although, after the couple says they are using Hyundai’s new shopper assurance program, Bateman quickly sends them to the top floor saying “Hyundai…Going’ up!”. Featuring their new Hyundai Palisade, the top floor talks about their new streamlining services and transparent pricing. Overall, the promotional mix of the commercial engaged the consumer, it communicated its value, and used comedy in order to build a customer relationship.
This elevator metaphor did a great job trying to lead viewers to think of the Assurance Program first when car shopping. It made the new program seem easier, faster, and worry-free. They created a deep engagement with their customers in this way. In the commercial, Hyundai addressed the need of the product, and then discussed how easy it will be to implement. Even though people will understand the message of the advertisement, the most important part is that they receive an emotional bond to Hyundai’s position and consider using their new program when thinking of buying. “The Elevator” established and maintained a consistent message and position, that most people will relate to, and did a great job showing how they have evolved as an organization.
The advertisement also managed to maneuver their competitors by having a new, superior service to purchasing a car. The metaphor was simple yet powerful and their strategy has adapted to modern technological advances as well. It will be great to see how the Shopper Assurance Program performs over the next few years and if any competitors will follow in their footsteps. Hyundai new program is set to improve personal selling, public relations, and their direct and digital marketing as well. If Hyundai can Maintain a good public image and engage directly with their targeted consumers, then they will be a much more successful organization. The commercial did its part with advertising, promoting, and personal selling. Hopefully the commercial incentivized the viewer enough to try out their new service.
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