Hyundai: Marketer of the Year?!


2009 Hyundai Genesis

The 2009 Super Bowl was hard to watch. Not just because the Arizona Cardinals dropped the game to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but because the tradition of great advertising failed to live up to the hype and expectations of past years.

That’s probably because the economy was in a nose dive and advertisers tried to make us forget that we could very easily be laid off tomorrow.

All advertisers, that is, but one: Hyundai.

Hyundai came out with a message that resonated with weary Americans:

“Now finance or lease any new Hyundai, and if you lose your income in the next year, you can return it with no impact on your credit.”

Remember that? It was the dawn of Hyundai’s Assurance plan. And it was also the start of a great year of ads from Hyundai, culminating with the Marketer of the Year Award from Advertising Age.

Hyundai beat out marketers such as McDonalds, Walmart, Lego and Amazon.

Of Hyundai’s Super Bowl ad, Ad Age says,

With that bold stroke, Hyundai — yes, Hyundai — an automaker not historically known for fearless marketing, began in earnest a frontal assault on a recession that was not dampening consumer enthusiasm but drowning it. But while its Assurance Program received heavy support, it wasn’t the sole route of advance. Hyundai also took an upmarket route, with its very successful efforts to push the Genesis, its entry into the premium-car market that was also pushed during the Super Bowl as well as during the game’s female-skewing equivalent, the Academy Awards, where the carmaker bought an eye-popping nine spots.

So with a smart advertising message, hot new product and an ambitious ad buy, Hyundai managed to increase market share from 3.1 percent to 4.3 percent while increasing sales by 27 percent in September.

All this while other automakers struggled through bankruptcy and saw free falling sales numbers.

Looks like Ad Age got this one right, by commemorating an advertising effort worthy of future textbooks.

Do you think any automaker advertised better than Hyundai this year?


1 Comment

  1. Yup, a smart marketing campaign indeed, but it wouldn’t have gotten any traction without a good product behind it. Hyundai’s smartest move was to create a very good (and good-looking) car at a bargain price.

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