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Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Why Hyundai is saying, "Hooray for Hollywood!"

by on Feb.25, 2011

Not quite the Super Bowl, but the Oscars are a great venue for advertisers, this year starring Hyundai.

The most popular man in Hollywood Sunday night is not the usual source of material for TMZ, Entertainment Tonight or similar shows.  It’s a male named Oscar.  Actually, that’s his nickname. What few people know is that his real name is The Academy Award of Merit.

The aging octogenarian of 83 is small even by traditionally diminutive nature of Hollywood leading men, at a diminutive 13.5 inches tall and weighing only 8½ pounds. Oscar costs just $500 – the Armani tuxedos some men will wear for the awards ceremony are ten times more expensive — but when won by either a man or a women it’s worth several million dollars in terms of earnings impact. It verges on the erotic when a winner is seen holding and fondling the little man after insipid acceptance speeches.

The Academy Awards ceremony is Hollywood’s biggest night of the year.  But the film industry isn’t alone in its interest.  While it doesn’t deliver quite the impact of the Super Bowl, it’s still an evening advertisers – notably including those in the auto industry – take quite seriously.

“It’s part of our ‘Big Voices in Big Places’ strategy, positioning Hyundai in the most-watched, high-profile advertising venues,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “With the compelling TV ratings combined with the glamour of the event and its attendees, it’s an ideal venue to show off the stars of our vehicle lineup.”

While the Oscar ceremony won’t rival this year’s Super Bowl, which generated the biggest television audience ever, it should surpass the Golden Globes and maybe, just maybe the Grammy Award show. Which explains why ABC just renewed its broadcast contract for the awards through 2020 — for a reported $70 million per year — and why Hyundai has signed on as the exclusive automotive sponsor of this year’s broadcast.

Nine Hyundai ads will air throughout the coverage – two pre-show and seven during the awards ceremony itself. In accordance with Academy rules, and to ensure that Hyundai’s long-time voice — last year’s Oscar best actor winner Jeff Bridges — gets to enjoy the spotlight for his second consecutive Oscar nomination, Hyundai has cast a guest star for a portion of the evening.  Actor Jason Bateman provides the voiceover for four ads surrounding the “Best Actor” award presentation.  If my memory is correct, several stars, all former Oscar winners or nominees were used last year.

The Hyundai commercials are rumored to have cost $1.7 million for each :30-second spot in the broadcast, but only $1.0 for the red carpet fashionista, fawning and flattering camera shots and sound bite interviews which always begin, “And who are you wearing tonight?” quickly followed by “Good luck.” New to the broadcast are special iPhone and other smart phone apps that will follow the Oscar winners backstage after receiving their awards and will pre-empt commercials too. And that’s really odd.

Here’s the list of Hyundai’s commercials by product and commercial name:

The two red carpet ads include:

  • “Good Things Come in Threes” featuring Sonata’s three distinct powertrains
  • “Comfy Home” featuring Hyundai’s Equus flagship sedan.

In-show spots include:

  • “Family,” featuring Sonata;
  • “Anachronistic City” featuring Sonata Hybrid;
  • “Drawing Board,” “Childhood,” and
  • “Deprogramming” all featuring Elantra;
  • “Greatest Luxury,” featuring Genesis;
  • “iPad” highlighting Equus’ unique iPad owner’s manual.

Bateman lends his voice to “Drawing Board,” “Greatest Luxury,” “Anachronistic City,” and “iPad.” Hyundai’s campaign also includes several animated billboards throughout the show. “Drawing Board” and “Greatest Luxury” are both making their debuts during the show.  Innocean Worldwide Americas, Hyundai’s agency of record, is responsible for all creative.

There are some very good movies and actors nominated, but on a personal note my vote goes to the Kings Speech and Colin Firth; a remarkable movie and an amazing performance.

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