Thirty-five million Americans have never left the state in which they were born—and as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to suppress travel across the country, that number likely won’t drop in the near future.
But in a show of aspirational advertising, Hyundai is helping some of those 35 million Americans cross their state lines in a new show it’s producing alongside food and travel streaming platform Tastemade.
The show, called The Un-Adventurers, will air as a four-part series on Tastemade, premiering on June 3. It will focus on four different stories of Americans, such as a single mom and a standup comedian. What links the subjects of each episode is that they have never left home, even for a vacation.
Hyundai’s agency of record Innocean is behind the idea, which was formed roughly a year ago, long before the Covid-19 outbreak. Thankfully, for the brand’s sake, the series was mostly shot before then too, excluding two episodes. At the introduction of each episode, a placard will tell audiences that it was shot before social distancing guidelines were implemented.
A show based around road trips is noteworthy considering that even though travel is limited, those who are traveling are doing so by car and highway, according to a survey from the U.S. Travel Association, which showed that more than 68% of respondents felt safest in their personal car as opposed to an international trip.
The series will provide Hyundai an opportunity to give its line of SUVs a moment in the spotlight as well as reintroduce the brand to audiences.
“We’ve been in the U.S. for 30 years, but we don’t have as much market share as we’d like,” said Angela Zepeda, Hyundai’s CMO. “We were late to the SUV lineup.”
Zepeda told Adweek that she hoped the series would reach an audience of roughly 13-14 million viewers and that it would result in shopping activity on Hyundai’s digital retail platform.
It’s been a quiet time for auto sales. When Covid-19 first broke out, Hyundai, like other auto brands, pulled its spring sales event. But in recent weeks, the brand has begun to inch back, releasing a commercial at the beginning of May titled “Safer at Home,” which emphasized home delivery and the brand’s online store.
Although auto advertising spend remains low, Hyundai’s decision to partner with Tastemade (which the brand previously collaborated with on a series called The Grill Iron between 2014 and 2016) on the production of a full-fledged show had to do with the size of its budget and the audience it could reach.
“We only had a certain budget, so distribution was key,” said Zepeda. “Tastemade provided that online streaming platform that people go to.”
The extended length also will allow the brand to actually tell a story.
“It felt like we needed the time to tell these stories; it didn’t feel like it would work in a 30 or a 60. It needed a story arc,” said Barney Goldberg, Innocean’s executive creative director. “All of us are yearning for an adventure.”
Zepeda agreed, noting that when travel does resume, it will be the little things, the stops along the highways and the views of an ocean, that people will cherish most. Those are the stories The Un-Adventurers will try to tell.
“It doesn’t have to be a big, over-the-top trip,” she said. “The simplicity of the story and the human connection. I think that has relevancy that people will engage with.”