Hyundai to Present Pared-Down TV Messages

DALLAS The Richards Group keeps the strategy it created for Hyundai Motor America last year but alters the execution in three factory spots breaking in January, the client said.

Client director of marketing communications Paul Sellers said the automaker will spend more than $200 million on its factory ads next year and expects its dealer associations to spend more than $200 million as well. The Fountain Valley, Calif.-based client has spent $160 million on factory ads this year and $110 on dealer ads through September 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Last year the company spent $210 million on factory work and $95 million on dealer ads. Richards also handles dealer creative work; Aegis’ Carat is responsible for media.

This year’s factory effort from the Dallas independent shop, which initially centers on the Sonata and Santa Fe models, focus more on the car and less on the people who drive them. It also highlights the value message more prominently than past work.

One spot features people driving only the front half of non-descript cars; only the Sonata is shown in its full size. The voiceover says, “The Hyundai Sonata, with America’s best warranty. It’s more car for the money.” The spot closes with a super of the car’s price.

The other two spots, which focus on the Santa Fe, also include warranty and price information. One ad revolves around a young girl who, as she sits with her parents in their Santa Fe, sees men and women in suits getting into their cars. She sees a young boy with a glove and ball waving good-bye to his dad, who is getting into his vehicle. The girl asks, “Dad, today’s Saturday isn’t it?” and he answers “Yep.” As they arrive at a beach, the voiceover says: “Your life and your money. Spend them wisely.”

The second spot shows a couple in the Santa Fe who look around and see others driving huge mechanical vehicles like bulldozers. The narrator: “Just how big should a SUV be? . . . It’s big on what matters, and small where it counts.”

The previous campaign that broke in October 2002—the first from Richards—positioned Hyundai as the car driven by “winners at life” by featuring various heartwarming vignettes. The spots ended with voiceover phrases such as, “When you choose a different definition of wealth” and “When you know what really matters” that led to, “You win.” The effort launched the “Win” tag, which returns in the new work in onscreen copy but is not mentioned by the voiceover.

“The campaign strategy initially focused on people as much as product. What we found in testing is although the executions were enjoyed, we were throwing too much information at them,” said Sellers. “They weren’t pulling away the kind of information we wanted them to pull away.”

The new work also features prices for the models. “There’s a sense not everyone knows where the products fit,” Sellers said. “Does the Sonata compete with the [Toyota] Camry or Corolla? [Adding prices] not only represents a good value but also positions the product.”

In addition, the company has simplified its warranty message in this go-round. Now, rather than offering too many details, the onscreen words “America’s Best Warranty; 10 years/100,000 Miles” appear when the voiceover says, “America’s best warranty.” “We found in testing many consumers perceived [the chunk of information in last year’s spots] as a disclaimer and they couldn’t digest it,” Sellers said. “They thought, ‘Does that mean it’s not what they’re saying it is?’ “

Hyundai is still looking to fill the vice president of marketing position that has been open since Brian Miller left the post in October, after three months, to return to Continental Automotive Systems.

This story corrects an earlier posting that incorrectly described the Sonata spot.