Case Study: Hyundai Uncensored is some good $#!&

Company: Hyundai

Type: TV spot, social campaign, experiential tour

Title: “In your own words”

Rating: A

Brief: What could possibly be new in automobile advertising? A lot of consumers might answer that with “the truth.” Well that’s exactly what Hyundai is claiming to give viewers in its new “Hyundai Uncensored” campaign. The television ads are supported with a full-blown (and impressively developed and designed) Youtube channel on which people can upload their own real video reviews of the well-known auto brand. Hyundai held a mall tour from Atlanta to LA and captured the unscripted and unedited remarks of real consumers test driving real Hyundais.

According to the VicePresident of Marketing, Chris Perry, “Hyundai ‘Uncensored’ was born out of the insight that consumers are most influenced by other consumers, so we captured totally organic conversations from people inside our cars and packaged them into an integrated campaign. Going one step further, we’re giving consumers the opportunity to drive our cars and tell their friends about the experience through social media components of this campaign.” The full campaign will include the 30-second television spots, unedited Facebook review comments from non-Hyundai sedan owners who have been given a brand new Sonata to drive for 30 days, and multi-city ride-and-drive events equipped with video booths for drive reviews and seamless social access for Facebook posting.

Analysis: I’m personally still a fan of Mazda’s old Zoom Zoom ads – they’re just so darn catchy – but the latest plug has to be given to Hyundai for what this social media-reinforced experiential campaign.

Most professionals in the marketing industry can tell you that consumers trust the judgment of their fellow buyers more than that of companies and marketers. Using what, for all intents and purposes, seem like authentic consumers and real reviews is a smart move in marketing a high-ticket item for which most people comparison shop and look to get others’ experiential input before they purchase anyway. (Why do you think Consumer Reports is akin to the car-shoppers’ Bible?) Using as your marketing message what seems like authentic (i.e. non-marketing) messages is fresh and cuts through the clutter of every other auto pitch – and in the long run it just might work.

Some people are haters and have no love for Hyundai’s “Uncensored” campaign, but what do you think?

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