Richards Goes ‘Extra Mile’ for Sonata

DALLAS TV spots created by The Richards Group for the new Sonata sedan will break in prime time on Monday as part of the most expensive product launch in Hyundai’s history, the South Korean automaker said.

Hyundai spent $340 million on ads in 2004, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The 2006 Sonata is the second of seven vehicles Hyundai plans to launch in a 24-month period, said Sonata national ad manager Chris Perry. The first was the Tucson sport utility vehicle last fall.

The Sonata, priced between $17,895 and $22,895, is the first U.S.-built Hyundai, coming off the new Montgomery, Ala., assembly line.

While Hyundai would not disclose ad spending behind the Sonata campaign, Perry called it “the largest, most comprehensive launch in Hyundai’s history.”

The Sonata ads follow a series of print and TV ads for the plant using the tagline, “A Hyundai like you’ve never seen before” and strive for “a confident, self-assured tone,” Perry said.

The first commercial, entitled “Extra Mile,” will debut in a 60-second version in Regal Theaters and will also air in a 30-second iteration on Monday, Perry said. That spot shows a group of Sonatas driving on a highway through a barren landscape as the voiceover describes the car’s advantages over the competition.

A second spot called “Cutting Corners” touts the Sonata’s power and performance with a base 160-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and optional V6 rated at 235 horsepower. “Near Misses” advertises Sonata’s safety features, including six air bags, and the fourth spot, “360,” touts interior amenities.

Richards principal Dave Allen headed development of the Sonata campaign, which includes print work that broke this week. Richards is a Dallas-based independent.

Media buying and planning are handled by Aegis Group’s Carat.