Innocean Populates Town With Crash Test Dummies for Hyundai

By Erik Oster 

Last week, we wrote about Mullen Lowe’s new spot for Acura with a twist on the crash test dummy ad. Well Innocean also launched a new campaign for Hyundia featuring crash test dummies — a whole town of them  — to promote the safety features of the 2016 Hyundai Tucson.

The idea is introduced in “Welcome to Hyundai Test Town.” It opens with a voiceover reminiscent of a movie trailer announcing, “In a world where distractions have become commonplace and screens have replaced human interactions, one company took a stand.” Hinting at what is to come in other ads, the spot shows test dummies driving around with smartphones and other distractions. “Smartphone Zombies” highlights the vehicle’s automatic break feature, useful when driving behind distracted drivers, while “Wandering Eye” shows the vehicle’s lane departure warning system in action. “Save Your Tailgate” promotes the hands-free smart liftgate while reminding viewers that Hyundai is an official NFL sponsor. Unlike the overly-excited voiceover of the first spot, the follow-ups go in the opposite direction, with an almost sleep-inducing lull. The inherent cheesiness of the concept, kept check in “Smartphone Zombies” goes over-the-top in “Wandering Eye” and “Save Your Tailgate.”

While the concept behind the ads is fairly simple, legalities and logistics made its execution a bit more difficult.

“One interesting element of the shoot was the fact that we had to fully execute all the safety features in each of the videos—meaning we couldn’t edit around the feature working,” Innocean creative director Bob Rayburn told Adweek. “Legally, we had to show it working. Everything had to be triggered naturally, and the car had to respond all on its own. It’s human nature to worry when a car is headed for another car and we aren’t allowed to hit the brakes. But the car came through, and the automatic emergency braking did its job.”

Working with dummies presented its own set of challenges. “Having to position them exactly right to get across the notion that they aren’t paying attention sounds easier than it actually was,” said Rayburn. “It felt like we were adjusting some dummy part after every take to get them just right.”