Hyundai commercial

I’ve seen this Hyundai commercial before, but this was the first time I thought consciously about why I have such mixed emotions/reactions to it.

The narrator says, “Instant gratification has us in a stranglehold, so much so that we don’t want to fix things anymore — just replace them. Don’t like your nose, get a new one. Don’t like your job, get a new one. Don’t like your spouse, get a new one. Whatever happened to commitment, to standing by our decisions?”

Then you see the text “10 years / 100,000 miles powertrain warranty,” and then “Think about”

On one hand, yes, definitely, we could all be reminded of the importance of commitment, of not giving in to instant gratification. Yes, amen. But, on the other hand, who in the audience (all TV viewers) hasn’t failed into this regard to some extent? And, I don’t know. I like the value the message is aiming at: commitment is good. But the tone is a little too holier-than-thou, don’t you think? I just find it a little irritating for some reason.

If I were on the Hyundai board deciding whether to air this commercial, I’d say no, too risky. Might alienate buyers. And might distract from our real message: that people should buy our car because we offer a great warranty. People might start writing blog posts about it rather than going out and buying our cars!


9 thoughts on “Hyundai commercial

  1. I hadn’t ever seen this commercial before, and if I had I think I would’ve just snorted and thought it was lame. Thinking about it after your post, though, it makes me wonder why commitment is good and important. Is it more important to stick with things you don’t really like because you said would (which doesn’t really work for those nose part, I guess) or to think about why you don’t like your job, nose or spouse.

    I think it’s just irritating when someone tries to sell you your morals in order to get you to buy a new car. You know they aren’t actually motivated by anything but profit, and maybe that’s how it comes off as “holier than thou”? Maybe sensing its inauthenticity makes it come off like that?

  2. Yes, maybe that is part of it — that they’re not sincerely talking about morals or character, but bragging about their warranty, and doing it by criticizing their audience’s failures/choices. Weird tack.

  3. I was alienated by the commercial. Such that I will never consider a Hyundai just on principle alone. What I found most annoying was that a car commercial from a brand that has traditionally been a low-cost competitor is making value judgements on the viewers, criticizing them for their lack of commitment. Also, the commercial trivializes some of the problems people commonly go through such as bad relationships, the need for plastic surgery, the need for a better job. As you have pointed out, Hyundai comes off as holier than thou.

    Ironically, Hyundai, as an alternative brand seeking to establish itself as a respectable competitor, will depend on that “lack of commitment” it believes Americans have if it is to convince consumers to abandon their loyalty to others brands and try out a new Hyundai.

    And of course, it doesn’t help that the follow-up commercial criticizes me for wanting to be warned about the little things.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Anthony.

    Yes, that’s true! I know the follow-up commercial you refer to, and yes, that one irritates me too. The narrator implies that people who care about safety in little things are missing the big picture, and the tone is arrogant and patronizing.

    Yes, I agree: the commercial seems to make fun of legitimate problems (marriages, jobs, etc), to blame all failed commitments as examples of instant gratification.

    And yes, that’s a great point, too — that Hyundai is emphasizing commitment in order to get Americans to “fail” in their previous commitments to other brands. Good point.

  5. I am fifty. I liked the commercial , it caught my ear and it definitely expresses the state of mind – or mentality of a good percent of people today. They lack committment ; effort is hard work and too many people are lazy: replace and disposable are terms of convience.
    Hyundai is willing to stand by its quality, and workmanship, they are there for the long haul. That commercial lets me believe I can buy their car and years later give it to one of my kids and it will still be a good safe reliable car.

  6. I, too, like the commercial. It really made me think….probably because we have a twentysomething daughter who is summarily trashing her marriage. I just don’t think commitment is what it used to be….at least not like it was in our grandparents day. To be honest I didn’t think much beyond that to the car one way or another. Since reading your blog, it still doesn’t stir up an emotion against the Hyundai folks. It’s the initial message that struck me though.

  7. Thanks for your comments, Katherine and Jeanne. It’s interesting that you, Katherine, found that the message helped successfully attracted you to the car itself, but that you, Jeanne, were didn’t find the car itself entering your mind much. Maybe that gets at my interest in their strategy. It seems sometimes if what you say to lead into your argument (“we’re committed to our warranty”) is too much, too weighty in itself, you run the risk of actually distracting from your main point — plus the risk of alienating some of your audience. Obviously this ad is causing a mixed reaction. And… Maybe that mixed reaction is a sign of an advertiser who’s not afraid of trying hard, not afraid of risking, not willing to be passive and non-committal. Or maybe it’s a weakness in the ad. Hmmmm…

    Anyway, thanks again for your comments. I love hearing people’s thoughts.

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