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Hyundai Exclusive Academy Award “Carvertiser”

An actor nominated for an Oscar can’t appear in a commercial during the broadcast?

by on Mar.05, 2010

More than $1 million of a thirty-second spot, with steadily declining ratings?

Given its impressive sales growth last year, ongoing through February of this year, (from an admittedly small base of 30,000 units a month) Hyundai’s vehicles are resonating with consumers. Its aggressive advertising campaigns, based on a “Big Voices in Big Places” strategy, which includes high-profile advertising in sporting events, entertainment awards shows and outdoor video boards placement tactics, is working very well thank you.

After taking over from long-time Oscar sponsor General Motors last year as the biggest Oscar advertiser, Hyundai will continue as the exclusive automotive advertiser on this year’s Academy Award ABC network broadcasts and has bought time for eight 0:30-second commercials during the annual homage to movies broadcast.

This could be a title of somewhat dubious distinction unless Oscar’s ratings are on the upswing. Broadcasts of the annual Academy Awards show are down, according to Nielsen, from a high of 55 million homes in 1997, when Titanic won Best Picture, to last year’s 36.3 million homes when … ah, hmm what was that movie … won?

Adding up the cost of $1.2 to $1.5 million per 0:30, Hyundai’s buy of eight spots – seven featuring the new Sonata and one for the award winning Genesis sedan – is impressive. However, there was some not so good news.

Not during our broadcast you don't.

Jeff Bridges, Hyundai’s voiceover since 2007, is nominated for the Best Actor award for his role in Crazy Heart; thus his mellifluous voice could not be used on the commercials.

The logical solution could have been get another, non-Oscar-nominee to rerecord Bridges voiceover, right? Yes, but not this time. The answer was to get not one but several actors to substitute their voice for that of Bridges.

“Praise for this idea,” Joel Ewanick vice president of marketing of Hyundai America, said, “Should go to Chris Perry, Hyundai’s director-marketing communications, for suggesting the idea.” On a conference call with Hyundai, Perry said, “My team working with Special Artists Agency, Jeff Bridges talent management firm, got an enviable package of seven very well known, recognizable, famous actors to substitute in our commercials, record their voiceovers, edit them into our old and new commercials, get them approved  and shipped them to ABC just in time.”

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Oscar Who?

In addition, they did it in about a week and half, which is an incredible achievement in Lalaland where it often takes that long to decide where to have lunch.

So whom did Hyundai get? (more…)