Hyundai wants to own the EV space

With a new campaign from Innocean, the automaker looks to open Canadians' eyes to its electrifying options.

As the number two retailer of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country, with an impressive 11 vehicles and a full array of all four types of powertrain, Hyundai is a leader in the electrified space – but many Canadians don’t know that.

“It’s kind of this weirdly best-kept secret,” says Christine Smith, marketing director for Hyundai Canada. “A lot of people don’t even know we have EVs. When I looked at Google search and the brands people are searching associated with EVs, we’re not really on the list. In fact, there are brands that don’t even have full EVs on that list, and we’re the number two retailer.”

For the automaker, the message was clear.

“We have vehicles people want to buy, and we need to put a message out there to drive awareness, especially as we want to scale up this part of the business,” Smith says.

With a commitment to producing only zero emissions vehicles by 2035, electrification is a “core pillar” of the modern Hyundai brand, which historically has been known for its value brand positioning, she says. That’s why the automaker has launched a new campaign, “Plugged Into You,” that sets out to build awareness and do away with consumers’ existing beliefs and biases.

The goal of “Plugged Into You,” along with touting the rich lineup of EVs that Hyundai has to offer, was “to put consumers at the centre of this,” says David Strasser, ACD at Innocean Worldwide Canada, which developed the campaign.

“A lot of the messaging in this space you can probably – and not even cynically – deem as category advertising: buy an electric because it’s green,” he says. “That kind of marketing doesn’t speak to any specific brand, but Hyundai has this really great family of electrified vehicles that nobody else could touch.”

As such, the goal of the new campaign was to show drivers who are considering making the switch – Smith says more than half the market is thinking about it – how a Hyundai EV would fit into their lives. In so doing, the brand is attempting to build positive opinions by “becoming synonymous with innovation, technology and electrification,” she adds.

“Plugged Into You” launched in mid-October and is running for six weeks across TV, OLV, social and digital, and it will likely return again in the spring when the automaker prepares to launch its new Ioniq 5, which is featured in the spot.

Hyundai is also leveraging its sports sponsorships – specifically hockey buys – to push the message, as well as four weeks of cinema advertising. Last weekend, it ran a national print wrap.

Response to the campaign has been strong already, driving a “massive increase” in site traffic – specifically toward its EVs, which nearly one in three site visitors are looking at, Smith says. Last week, during what is typically not a peak month for traffic, the site hit a record high for search visits and on-site behaviours such as locating a dealer, requesting a quote, and using its build and price features.

“Consumers aren’t only visiting the site, they’re actually taking action to learn and dig a bit more into our vehicles,” adds Smith.