When the zombie apocalypse comes, it seems what we really need is a customised Hyundai.
Hyundai, a long-standing sponsor of AMC hit TV show The Walking Dead, has built a strong activation heritage the stretches far beyond simply supplying vehicles for the show’s shoot.
Its latest initiative offers fans the chance to create a customised car built to survive on undead onslaught through a campaign microsite and interactive app called ‘The Walking Dead Chop Shop’.
Hyundai often markets on the basis of its safety features, but this initiative takes that sseveral steps forward by enabling users and show fans to choose from a selection of Hyundai vehicles and then add anti-zombie armour, accessories and personalised designs.
The Chop Shop campaign follows the sponsor’s 2012 stunt which saw Robert Kirkman, the creator of the original Walking Dead comic books, use a Hyundai Elantra Coupe to build his own zombie survival machine.
After fans took to social media to make their own suggested improvements, Hyundai recognised the passion of their engagement and the value of giving them a build-your-own vehicle platform.
The Chop Shop was developed in partnership with creative agency Innocean USA, Future US (a digital media and content marketing group) and Kirkman’s Image Comic’s imprint Skybound,.
The campaign, which debuted at San Diego’s July Comic-Con International, kicks off by inviting designers to chose between a Hyundai Elantra, Veloster Turbo or Santa Fe and then offers around 300 car configuration custom-designed tools and parts such as armour, machetes, shotguns, razor wire and horde plows.
The app, which is available for iPhone, iPad and Android, also offers designers a chance to share their creations, like and comment on others, get a ‘survival score’ for their vehicle and test them out in scenarios inspired by the comic books.
There is an ultimate contest to see which Kirkman deems best to withstand the zombie apocalypse and the winner will see his or her design built into a real car which will be unveiled at October’s influential showcase event Comic-Con in New York.
According to Hyundai marketing director David Matathia, the survival score is based on a sophisticated zombie algorithm which accounts for the model and its customizations.
Users can also return to earn additional points by answering trivia questions or posting to a gallery (which itself is searchable by factors such as ‘model’, ‘price’ and ‘survivability’).
Hyundai’s existing Walking Dead website spans content, interactivity, photos and video relating to the show and fan creation.
With web film of events and experiences such as July’s exclusive The Walking Dead 100th issue Black Carpet event,
Plus offering fans a chance to meet the celebrities on the Black Carpet, get scanned for zombie infection, tour the party and check out the survivor camp
or just tackle The Walking Dead Escape obstacle course at San Diego Comic-Con
Within a few weeks of its launch, around 30,000 zombie survival machines had already been created.
Proving that clever TV programme sponsorship can genuinely engage fans and doesn’t have to be just an alternative form of target-specific advertising.
Hyundai’s relationship with AMC’s zombie series initially began when the car brand began by advertising around the show, evolved into a product placement partnership and then extended into a deeper relationship that moved beyond the TV screen saw the brand dovetail within the show’s wider landscape, its graphic novel tie-ins and experiential events.
‘When we started with The Walking Dead, we were looking at Gen Y very specifically,’ says Matathia. ‘From a vehicle standpoint, we know Gen Y’s love affair with cars is waning and our desire to build a brand impression early is very important. When in market, we want to show we’re a brand that gets them, thinks like them and is passionate about the same things.’
Geny Y and Millennials are groups which are typically enthusiastic about participation and customisation, so the tactic works well for targeting these segments.
But Matathia says Hyundai’s approach is evolving as the programme’s audience grows and expands beyond its initial core target segment.
According to AMC, the season three finale of The Walking Dead on 31 March had the show’s largest ever audience of 12.4 million viewers.
Walking Dead Chop Shop Website
Hyundai Undead Website