hyundai super bowl debacle could have been so different

Agency Spy is reporting that the buzz around the water cooler is that Goodby is up to its knees in it on the Hyundai account. I had heard these rumors as well, but not from someone so authoritative, but hoped that they were wrong.

hyundai-logo.jpg

It would have been a superb bit of marketing had Hyundai balked at the Super Bowl spot as a way of building buzz for their ad.

After all, car ads are, by and large, kind of boring. Mainly they are created to show off the sheet metal which makes strategic sense as research shows that a huge percentage (disturbingly huge for that large of a purchase) of car-buying decisions are made on impulse and many of those impulse buys are made by buyers who see a car that they like, go into the dealership and then buy something else of the same brand. There are more and less interesting ways of showing the car, but you have to show the car.

And Hyundai just doesn’t have good looking (or exciting or cool or differentiating) cars to sell. So not only does the category throw up challenges for creative advertising but the product does too. I am sure that Agency of the Year Goodby, Silverstein and Partners is better equipped than most to overcome these challenges, but the very fact that Hyundai wanted to pull the Super Bowl spot because it was poor does underline that it’s just not that easy to live up to the creative expectations of the Super Bowl with a car ad for a ho-hum manufacturer.

The media play that Hyundai started with its prevarication on running the spot could have at least attracted eyeballs of consumers who wanted to see the ad that almost didn’t run. The spot probably still will attract eyeballs, but now that it has emerged that the spot is considered poor it can only be a self-fulfilling prophesy and anyway Hyundai is not going to be happy that is spent $4.5 million on a spot that they don’t like, media buzz or not.

It could have been so different, and would have been fun if it were.

Then Hyundai could have, at the last minute, announced that it believed in the economy, was running the spot and, with the right PR and even promotional pricing, behind the move could have sewn up some significant pre-Super Bowl attention and assured an audience for the ad…a positive audience for the ad.

Maybe next year.

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