The Super Bowl is the largest event of the year for the National Football League. It is also a monumental moment for brands seeking to promote their products or services to consumers around the world.
Car manufacturer Hyundai has never before affiliated itself with the Big Game, but has big plans to do so with Super Bowl 50 as part of its first year of serving as an NFL sponsor. Hyundai has taken over the San Francisco Bay Area for nine days of activating around the Super Bowl, with three key components to its on ground activities and over 400 Hyundai vehicles on the ground.
Executives at Hyundai figured that if they were going to be part of the Big Game, then they better go big or go home.
Why Hyundai went from no NFL sponsorship to expending serious resources on the Super Bowl.
"Hyundai loves sports marketing and believes that fan passion is a great emotional connection for the brand," said Dean Evans, CMO, Hyundai Motor America. "As a brand, we have a long history of celebrating fan passion across the globe and helping make the fan experience better --at the World Cup, on the PGA TOUR and with the top college football teams."
The NFL had evaded Hyundai for some time, but this year the brand serves as title sponsor for the NFL Experience interactive theme park and Super Bowl City presented by the San Francisco Host Committee. It is also running a 60-second ad in the Super Bowl 50 pre-kick time slot, 60-second ad during the pre-game show and two 30-second ads during the game.
"The Super Bowl is a one of a kind platform where we can generate mass awareness for some of our most exciting new vehicles and technologies through entertaining creative that engages fans watching the game," added Evans. "It's a great opportunity to highlight the core values of the brand and what Hyundai delivers to its consumers."
It is hard to think of an event the size of the Super Bowl that can drive engagement, social media chatter and online traffic to a brand. Even Super Bowl advertisement watching has become a sport in itself. Even though Hyundai has advertised surrounding the Super Bowl in the past, the brand was tired of sitting on the sidelines and has added to its spend as well as its activation on the ground.
Why title sponsorship of the NFL Experience was so compelling.
"The NFL Experience presented by Hyundai is the league's flagship on the ground activation, that expects to see more than 150,000 fans pass through its doors," said Evans. "Our area will feature must-see activations such as autograph signings, a virtual photo op where fans can have their picture taken with their favorite NFL legend, a legends museum and vehicle displays."
The NFL Experience has been a part of the Super Bowl since the early 1990s, and was actually scrapped altogether in 2013 when the Super Bowl was held in New York. That surprised many sponsors.
Hyundai has a unique way to market to consumers on the ground at the Super Bowl, which is important when there are many brands competing for the same eyeballs at a very crowded event.
Commercials remain a key component of strategy.
As strong as Hyundai activates on the ground in San Francisco, it will not mean much, if anything at all, to the vast majority of Super Bowl 50 consumers based elsewhere. Thus, Hyundai cannot escape its prior strategy of focusing on Super Bowl commercials to engage its demographic beyond the Bay Area.
Hyundai has spots prepared with actors Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds, with popular directors attached to the ads.