Big Voices In Big Places: Hyundai Oscars Strategy


Hyundai, one of the three main pillar sponsors of the Academy Awards Show, ran no less than nine commercials during the 26 February Oscars – two on the red carpet and seven during the actual ceremony.


Hyundai picked up the exclusive auto maker slot after GM pulled out during the economic turmoil of 2009, thus joining the Oscars’ other two big brand backers Coca-Cola and JCPenney.


Other major advertisers buying space in this year’s show include American Express, McDonald’s, Samsung and Procter & Gamble. Diet Coke will air a new ad celebrating the film industry, while Stella Artois and MetLife will both also unveil new commercials.


But, according to Kantar Media, the biggest spend comes from the show’s big three backers. Kantar data shows that the three main sponsors of The Academy Awards spent more than $10m during last year’s show and will do so again in 2012.


Hyundai is using its Oscar’s rights largely target affluent, female viewers.


The Oscars provides an upscale viewing demographic that is 70% women. It is this statistic that has led to some in the media and marketing worlds to call the Oscars ‘The Super Bowl for Women’. Although, the Super Bowl actually gains more than twice as many women in total numbers than the Oscars.


Unlike the Super Bowl, viewers don’t tune in to the Oscars for the ads themselves. However, viewers do tune in to watch the fashion and the media coverage and consumer buzz surrounding clothes, brands and styles. So its importance as an engagement platform for a clothes retailer like Penney’s is high.


“The Academy Awards are all about fashion, style and creativity. Thematically and contextually, it’s a nice fit for us, and the timing couldn’t be better,” says Steve Shannon, Hyundai’s VP Marketing in the USA.


So, with the Oscars audience tilted towards women, Hyundai’s ads focused on features and benefits such as luxury and design, as well as quietness and serenity, says Shannon.


In a neat link to the Oscar push, Hyundai chose Academy Award nominated director/producer/writer Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums and Fantastic Mr Fox) to helm its twin commercials for itys new $32,000 Azera model which goes on sale this month.


The first spot (see top of article), called ‘Modern Life, predominantly targets women promotes the vehicle’s premium interior features such as front and rear heated seats, ventilated power front seats, ambient lighting system, Infinity or Dimension audio systems, iPod and USB input jacks, as well as Bluetooth hands-free connectivity.


While the second TVC, ‘Talk to My Car’, is a feats of visual effects and focuses on Hyundai’s new Blue Link technology (which helps make driving safer, easier, and more fun).



As the big TV event season comes to a close, following impressive viewing figures for the Super Bowl and the GRAMMYs, the 2012 Oscars continued this 2012 trend for live telecast success. This year’s show was watched by 39.3 million Americans – up 4% on 2011’s 37.6 million (according to early Nielsen figures). It also beat 2008’s 32 million and 2009’s 36 million, but not 2010 41.3 million.


Media rights owner ABC sold out its ad slots for the show earlier than usual. Indeed, according to Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger, this year’s 30-second spots were sold for an average cost of $1.7m. This is up from 2011’s $1.5m, but just down on the record mark of 2008’s $1.8m cost.


It may have a smaller audience than the Super Bowl, but one advantage it does have is that the Academy carefully limits the volume of ads and places restrictions on their content.


It allows only eight to 10 minutes of advertising per hour. Well ahead of the Super Bowl’s 13 to 14 minutes of ads per hour (and the primetime average of 14 to 16 minutes an hour).


The cleaner, clearer commercial landscape is attractive to advertisers like Hyundai. ‘The uncluttered environment is almost unprecedented. It really allows us room to breathe,’ says Hyundai’s Shannon.


“We know, despite viewing figures bouncing up and down a little, that it still has terrific value for us,’ says Shannon.




After activating around the three major US TV events in recent weeks – The Super Bowl, The GRAMMYs and The Oscars, Hyundai has labelled its strategy ‘Big Voices In Big Places.


“There’s an old expression in boxing about punching above your weight class,” says Hyundai’s Shannon. “That’s our media strategy, and the Oscars give us the chance to be a big voice in a big place.”


The approach (and hefty investment) is part of the auto brand’s strategy of addressing the fact that until recently the brand had been largely ignored in the USA (where it barely commands a 1% share of the car market).


But sales are now on the rise and demand is limited only by production capacity, Hyundai wants to solidify its improved standing in North America by a huge advertising presence across the country’s top three live TV events.


It’s not just the parent national brand getting in on the Oscar’s act either. We note that local dealer, Bob Rohrman’s Gurnee Hyundai, even released a silent movie style black and white TVC in February. A tribute to The Artist, this year’s big winner at The Oscar’s, perhaps?







Hyundai’s Oscars Equus TVC


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