I just saw a commercial for Hyundai’s new “integrated marketing campaign,” in which customers and test-drivers will take center stage.
The campaign, “Hyundai Uncensored,” puts cameras in the cars people test drive and records their comments about the vehicles. Here’s what the press release has to say:
The experiential campaign focuses on two key strategies. First, 125 non-Hyundai sedan owners will be given a new 2011 Sonata to drive for 30 days. Their comments will be posted – unscripted and unedited – on Hyundai’s Facebook site. The second is a multi-city ride-and-drive which includes a video booth where consumers can film their drive impression and post video directly to their own Facebook page.
(Unrelated to the point of this post, I’m not sure that either of the key “strategies” are actually strategies at all. They’re tactics. Oh well – who reads these press releases anyway, right?)
I’ve got to be honest, I think this is a fun idea. Even if it’s not entirely original. But I also think there are a couple of shortcomings to this “experiential” effort.
I know that if you’re paying buckets of money for a :30 TV spot, you want to put your best foot forward. But if you’re building a campaign around unedited, uncensored content, only having glowing reviews of how amazing your vehicles are doesn’t communicate truly transparent feedback. It’s true that the new Hyundais are attractive, have nice features and are fun to drive, but they aren’t the greatest vehicle ever created by human-kind. There are some negatives that could be pointed out, even during a short, 10-minute test drive.
Balancing the glowing positive with some slightly negative would give the campaign more credibility and show that Hyundai is truly interested in getting and sharing honest responses to their vehicles.
The “experiential” campaign is currently limited to a couple of :30 TV spots (click the thumbnail to the right to view them). Currently, there’s nothing about the campaign on their Facebook page, YouTube channel or even their website. The press release mentions that the campaign will launch the social media components in the middle of the month, but why wouldn’t they go ahead and start promoting some of it on their social media profiles. Particularly if that’s where the campaign will primarily live.
Do We Really Need Permission?
The campaign sounds edgy and forward-thinking, but the reality is that people already give uncensored feedback about Hyundai’s cars. They already have the power to tweet, post to their Facebook wall, upload a video or write a blog post. I suppose the benefit to the people who will participate is that the feedback will be “featured,” not just added without a response – which currently seems to be the case. I didn’t see any responses from Hyundai to comments on their Facebook wall, regardless of whether they were questions, praises or criticisms.
Hyundai’s already receiving uncensored comments from people – it just doesn’t appear that they’re listening. Perhaps now that they’re throwing millions of dollars behind a traditional ad campaign, that will change.
Time Will Tell
It’s a little early to predict how this campaign will run – it just launched July 1 – but I’m not sure it’s starting out on the right foot. It will be interesting to see how much play they give to the negative feedback they receive, if the campaign truly does become experiential across multiple channels and if they become more responsive to consumers than they are now.
What do you think about the campaign? Any other shortcoming you’d like to add? Or is this a great idea and I’m just not getting it?