NEW YORK When Jack Bauer saves the world for the seventh time, he’ll do it from behind the wheel of a Hyundai.
The Korean automaker has committed to a season-long integration in Fox’s 24, taking up the slack from Ford, which until recently had enjoyed category exclusivity on the program. Per terms of the deal, the Hyundai Genesis will play a pivotal role throughout the season’s arc, serving as the primary vehicle for rogue super-spy Bauer.
The buy was put together by Initiative, Hyundai’s agency of record.
Although the integrations first appeared in November, with the two-hour special 24: Redemption, timing issues related to last year’s writers strike pushed Hyundai back into the on-deck circle until the Feb. 16 installment of season seven. That night’s show, the ninth of the current season, delivered 11.2 million viewers in the 9 p.m. time slot, per Nielsen data.
The delay allowed Hyundai to hold off making a formal announcement about the buy until after it had trumpeted its January sales figures. According to internal data, last month Hyundai posted the industry’s highest year-to-year increase, selling 24,512 vehicles, a 14.3 percent improvement versus January 2008. (The only other manufacturer that actually boosted its sales was Subaru, which moved 12,194 cars and trucks in January, an increase of 8 percent.)
Ford wrapped up its role as 24‘s exclusive automotive sponsor in episode eight. The nation’s No. 2 automaker has been a major 24 backer since signing on with the program in October 2002.
In addition to the product placement, the Hyundai Genesis brand is featured on News Corp.’s MySpace and Hulu.com, a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate and NBC Universal.
“Our partnership with … 24 provides a tremendous 360-degree platform to showcase our new flagship, the Genesis sedan,” said Chris Perry, director of marketing communications, Hyundai Motor America. “The unique in-show integration ensures exposure when the audience is most involved with the TV series … but the extensions allow us to build a relationship with consumers in the real world.”
With $80 million budgeted toward the launch of the 2009 Genesis sedan, the Korean automaker has been all over the dial of late, buying three Super Bowl spots and seven Academy Awards avails, including one 60-second ad. The marque has also enjoyed a great deal of exposure via TNT’s latest original drama series, Leverage.