September 25, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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Hyundai NFL ads: return to office plot, Amazon Prime Video ad buy

A report published in May by Unispace, whose services include facility design, found that 72% of companies worldwide had mandated office returns. That figure is likely higher now, given that some companies timed office mandates to begin after Labor Day.

“Whether or not you like it, that is what is happening, so why not [commute] in a car that makes that ride just a little bit more enjoyable,” Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer, Hyundai Motor America, said in an interview.

The ad’s target includes younger workers. “Maybe some of them haven’t even had to drive to the office before, so getting into traffic every day is a little bit of a cultural mindset shift,” Zepeda said.

Hyundai, which has its U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, mandated an office return several months ago and its policy allows for some flexibility (including allowing workers to come in later in the morning and leave earlier than 5 p.m., while allowing for one work-from-home day a week), according to Zepeda.

More: Ad agencies restructure—behind the employee shakeups

Leaning into live sports

Hyundai’s NFL investment includes maintaining its presenting sponsor status for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football Kickoff Show” for the sixth consecutive year while buying ads on Amazon Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football” for the first time. Hyundai will be the only automotive advertiser in the third quarter as part of the deal, which also includes custom content produced by Amazon. Hyundai in a statement said the Amazon deal will “ultimately double its advertising reach for the football season.”

It continues what Zepeda described as “a deep partnership with Amazon.” The automaker since late 2021 has featured its vehicles on Amazon via a page called “Hyundai Evolve”—a digital showroom that allows users to shop inventory with participating dealers (although purchases still cannot be completed online; instead users are connected to the dealership.) 

Zepeda said the feature will be promoted as part of Hyundai’s “Thursday Night Football” ads on Amazon.

Amazon Prime Video averaged 9.58 million viewers in its inaugural “Thursday Night Football” season last year, which was less than the package got when it was on linear Fox. But ratings could see a boost this year as a result of a planned move by Nielsen to incorporate Amazon Prime’s streaming data into its audience measurement, which has drawn criticism from competing networks.

NFL games across all networks could also see a ratings boost given a lack of other new entertainment choices as content productions are on hold during the Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes.

Zepeda said Hyundai negotiated its NFL buys before the strikes, as part of a strategy to pour more money into live sports. But “the striking makes us feel better that we did it. Because at least we’ll have some good placements,” she said, noting that “content is at a premium” given that shows have halted production.

Sports are “the place where consumers really do show up consistently. There’s nothing like sports,” she added.

Still, Hyundai will continue to sit out the largest U.S. sporting event of the year—the Super Bowl—continuing its strategy of instead making significant buys in the NFL Playoffs, which draw huge audiences with ad prices that, while expensive, are cheaper than Big Game buys.


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