Hyundai Makes ‘Smart Move’

LOS ANGELES Independent Siltanen & Partners this week breaks an extensive television and theatrical campaign for Hyundai Motor America as the review for the client’s $600 million creative account approaches its final phase.

The spots introduce the tagline, “Smart move,” and include tongue-in-cheek narrations by Kelsey Grammar.

The work was done by Siltanen on a project basis. The Marina del Rey, Calif., agency is also a contender in
the review. Other contenders are Amalgamated, Arnold, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners and StrawberryFrog. Incumbent The Richards Group is not defending.

The spots make cheeky head-to-head comparisons with vehicles in various categories. A Hyundai Sonata spot, for example, shows a BMW 525i gradually eclipsed by a Sonata Limited. The voiceover claims that the Sonata has more cabin space, greater horsepower, superior acceleration and a better warranty. The narration concludes, “But the Sonata costs $20,000 less than the BMW. We just thought you might like to know.”

The spots attempt to position the vehicles beyond their low sticker prices and “show that they are world-class cars that are an outstanding value and thus a smart move,” said Rob Siltanen, shop principal and cd.

Another spot shows the Hyundai Santa Fe and Land Rover LR3 dropping from the sky beside each other, then racing along a track while the voiceover claims, “The Santa Fe beat the Land Rover in the 0-to-60 test and in the quarter-mile test” as well as on the dry and wet slalom and accident avoidance tests. The punch line: “But the Land Rover did beat the LR3 in the number of cup holders. Well, you can’t win everything.”

“The manifesto on ‘smart’ gave a holistic view of what the brand offers and what it has already accomplished,” Siltanen said. “We found all these stories and talked to testing companies about how they would do in various scenarios. It not only sells the cars today, but allows us to build the brand simultaneously, which is very difficult to achieve.”

The 90-second “Smart,” intended for theatrical release and cable, shows a light-bulb morphing into a sunset and includes a wide-ranging discussion on exactly what it means to be “smart.” Showing a clip of the Professor from Gilligan’s Island, the voiceover says, “When stranded on a desert island, whom did everyone turn to? The smart guy.” The spot concludes, “Choosing Hyundai is the smartest way to go.”

The client spent nearly $600 million in measured media in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.