Hummer Takes a New Turn

DETROIT General Motors’ Hummer unit is exiting the launch phase for its H2 and “evolving” the creative to emphasize the vehicle’s distinctive personality, said Liz Vanzura, Hummer advertising director.

“You really couldn’t easily in any of our new spots substitute any other brand in the commercial,” she said. “It has to scream Hummer at you.”

Independent Modernista! in Boston has fashioned two new TV spots. “Asteroids,” which broke last week, is a 30-second spot, while both 30- and 60-second versions of “Big Race” break on Friday. The commercials end with the familiar “Like nothing else” tagline.

The animated “Asteroids” spot takes viewers back to the video games of the early ’80s, with a spacecraft successfully destroying oncoming asteroids until a miniature Hummer H2 appears and, impregnable to laser fire, chases the shooter from the screen. The scene shifts to an H2 zooming down the road at night.

“Asteroids shows in a cool, fun way the indestructibility of this truck … that we think will really connect with our target,” Vanzura said. The median age of Hummer buyers is 42 and will instantly recognize the “bloop-bloop” sound effects in the ad, she said.

In “Big Race,” a young boy decides to take a different approach in the building of his soapbox car for the neighborhood race. When other boys show up with sports car-like models to ride in, he instead has made a wooden replica of an H2. The boy next to him scoffs at his creation and the other cars take off ahead of him. Like Hummer target owners, he “takes the road less traveled” and makes a hard left turn midway on the course, spends the rest of the race off-road and ends up being first at the finish line.

An actual Hummer is not shown in the spot, but the soapbox racer is unmistakably a Hummer. The spot was shot in Vancouver and directed by Scott Hicks, director of the movie Shine.

The spot “speaks to the type of person who owns or buys Hummers. They’re entrepreneurs, a lot of them. They’ve done things their own way: started companies, invented something,” said Modernista! chief executive and executive creative director Lance Jensen. The spot “is a neat way to humanize the truck, show it as [a tool for] someone carving his own path.”

A third spot, which breaks in October, will focus on the premium aspect of the brand, Vanzura said, though she declined to disclose details.

Hummer ad spending last year was $45 million, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.