Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Bates Breaks Hyundai Ads

Focusing on the auto maker’s 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty, Bates USA West is launching work for Hyundai Motor America that emphasizes the freedom of not worrying about repairs.

The Irvine, Calif., agency rolls out a TV spot for the Santa Fe sport utility vehicle this week; a spot for the redesigned Elantra sedan will follow.

Bates handles creative and media on the account, which is worth more than $100 million in billings.

Representatives of Hyundai, a Korean car maker with a U.S. base in Fountain Valley, Calif., said the campaign is its largest ever, comprising about 40 percent of its annual budget. It includes TV, outdoor and print advertising.

“We are looking for the Santa Fe to really reposition the brand,” said Dave Weber, vp of marketing.

Bates introduced the Santa Fe, Hyundai’s first SUV, late last year. Executives say they are aware of the challenges of competing in the already glutted market. Still, they expect the emphasis on the warranty to hit home with consumers.

“The theme that runs through the whole campaign is freedom, and that is reflected in the Hyundai Advantage Warranty,” said Bates executive creative director Mike Robertson. “You’re completely free. You don’t have to worry.”

The Santa Fe spot, titled “Carpet,” features images of the vehicle riding on a red carpet in the mountains. The ad emphasizes many attributes of the vehicle, including its V-6 engine and four-wheel-drive capability.

Rock music in the background uses the word “freedom” prominently in the lyrics.

The Elantra spot, titled “Sheet Metal,” features a T2-like morphing of automotive steel. It also emphasizes the Hyundai warranty and uses a song that includes the message “free your mind.”

Bates has had Hyundai’s account since its U.S. launch in 1985.