Hyundai Hopes NFL Championships Deliver Super Bowl Publicity for Santa Fe Commercial

Hyundai hasn’t put a commercial in the Super Bowl since 2020. On Sunday, it hopes its newest auto ad makes people think of the stuff they might see in the Big Game.

The automaker will take to the NFL’s AFC and NFC Championship Games on Sunday to launch the 2024 Santa Fe — a familiar model that has been redesigned for families that needs lots of room as well as rugged features to help them enjoy the outdoors. The 60-second spot, crafted by Hyundai Motor’s Innocean agency, shows a family of four getting their Viking on as they traverse the terrain in a new Santa Fe — all to the sounds of Heart’s classic “Barracuda.” There’s even a pet wolf.

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“We are taking advantage of the big audiences that show up for the championship games by showing up with a big Super Bowl-esque spot,” says Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer, Hyundai Motor American during an interview.

Hyundai’s strategy spotlights the way more advertisers view the prospect of using football. Various NFL decisions in recent years — the launch of “Thursday Night Football, the addition of new games such as a “Black Friday” contest on Amazon Prime Video or a streaming-only match-up on Peacock — have only increased the amount of ad inventory associated with the sport. Some marketers feel they can wring more of of the game by sticking with the regular season rather than spending additional millions in the Super Bowl.

“Being in the AFC and NFC Championships is about a third of the cost” of the Super Bowl, says Zepeda. “For us, it’s the same number of eyeballs but it is a lot less money.” Hyundai is a regular-season sponsor of both NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football,” she says.

CBS has sought between $6 million and $7 million for a 30-second spot in its looming broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII, slated to air on February 11 from Las Vegas.

There will be other marketing ripples once Hyundai makes its marketing splash on Sunday. Following the championship games, 60-, 30- and 15- second spots will run throughout the year during various sporting events and across multiple broadcast, radio, social, and digital media platforms. The 15-second ads will specifically highlight new available features of the Santa Fe,, says Jason Sperling, chief creative officer at Innocean, which include dual wireless charging, third-row seating and towing capabilities.

But it’s the initial push this Sunday that Hyundai executives hope will catch consumer interest. “We are going out before the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is very Super Bowl-esque,” says Sperling. “In fact, we hope to steal a little thunder from the Big Game.”

There’s another good reason to hitch the ad’s debut to the championships. If the Kansas City Chiefs lose this Sunday, it could mark the last time this season that Taylor Swift fans will have a strong reason to tune in for NFL play.

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