Hyundai ventures outside again

The automaker resumes its plans for more above-the-line marketing as demand begins to recover.

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Hyundai is looking to get back on track with more “mainstream” TV and digital ads after throttling back on media spend in the early stages of the pandemic.

The car brand had planned to prioritize mainstream marketing in 2020, says Lawrence Hamilton, director of marketing at Hyundai Canada. Though they had to be paused during the pandemic, the company didn’t stop planning for them, and still has “lots of campaigns ahead.”

The plan was done to support two significant car launches ahead this year, the “heavily-revised” Santa Fe and the all new Hyundai Elantra model. Hamilton adds that Hyundai “reignited the launch” of its latest Sonata model with a new digital campaign – which was postponed as a result of COVID-19.

However, in recent months, Canada’s automobile industry has been reeling. According to data from Statistics Canada, the number of new motor vehicles decreased from 126,224 in February, to 47,168 in April. DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, an automotive sector consulting and market research company, said in May, Canadian auto sales dropped by 44%.

Despite this, Hamilton says that he and Hyundai are seeing demand start to show signs of recovery. Hamilton says Hyundai Canada’s web traffic has gone up in comparison to last year, when there was no pandemic. He also says that the volume of leads is “massively higher.”

“We think that the car market has come back pretty quickly, and we’re now back in-market with the same level of media spend that we were planning before the pandemic. For us, it’s full steam ahead,” Hamilton tells strategy. “Consumers are doing more of their shopping activities online, which means they are also more willing to be a little bit more remote in terms of their car-buying behaviours.”

To meet this demand, and ensure the car brand is visible in the marketplace, Hyundai has launched a new creative campaign entitled, “What’s For Lunch?” Shot in the post COVID-19 shutdowns, the campaign highlights Hyundai’s Tucson and its features, as well as embracing the new reality people find themselves in working remotely and the potential benefits that can come with it. The minute-long spot – created by Innocean Worldwide Canada – shows Canadian Olympian, Alex Harvey, spending his lunchtime sea-dooing and mountain biking, between the work Zoom calls and conferences.

Hamilton says he thinks Hyundai is one of the first brands to get back on the air with a new, mainstream campaign. “We’re not re-hashing any more broader, emotional re-edited type [of] content talking about COVID. We think that consumers are now looking to move on a little bit,” he says. “We believe people are pretty keen now to try and get back to a degree of normality with the things they miss, which is (I guess) the degree of outdoor life, the degree of freedom.”

Getting back to normal also applies to Hyundai, as it looks to get messaging out in support of its key-volume vehicles. Hyundai’s Tucson would qualify, as sport utility vehicles continue to be the biggest segment in Canada, according to Hamilton.

The campaign launched on July 3 and consists of two 30-second spots broadcast in English and French, as well as a 60-second digital version. It will be supported with digital media spend, including pre-roll targeted to specific outdoor activities, digital banners and social content.