Video: Hyundai Promotes Ioniq 5 In New Ad With Jason Bateman

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Hyundai is taking a page from the Volkswagen playbook from 60 years ago. Back then, the Beetle was weird. It was strange. There was still an anti-Teutonic hangover following the Second World War. Sales in North America were sluggish until the company hired Doyle, Dane & Bernbach. Soon, iconic spots such as the famous “Keeping Up With The Kremplers” ad started cropping up on television. What was once weird and wacky suddenly became fashionable and cool. The rest, as they say, is history.

Hyundai’s corporate cousin KIA has also been known to put the power of creative marketing to work. Its ads took the KIA Soul — essentially a box on wheels — and made it the epitome of cool. The Scion xB and xD from Toyota were essentially the same concept. So was the Honda Element. None of them could crack the mass market. The Soul went on to become a cultural icon — and sell way more cars than the xB and xD combined — thanks to the power of great advertising.

In the world of automobile sales and marketing, Tesla is an anomaly. It doesn’t do advertising, preferring to rely on word of mouth and the considerable promotional skills of its primary cheerleader, Elon Musk. The rest of the automotive universe is in the uncomfortable position of having to peddle their conventional cars while convincing potential customers to consider one of their electric car offerings.

Hyundai has decided to take the bull by the horns, as it were. In conjunction with Brady, Brannon, and Rich, it is using the same humorous approach that propelled Volkswagen into the limelight decades ago to market its new plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars. Here’s the instant classic, “No Gas, No Squeegee” spot.

We understand that KIA has booked space during the Stupor Bowl to introduce its sexy new EV6. During the league playoffs this weekend, Hyundai laid the groundwork for its electric car ambitions with a new spot starring Jason Bateman. The theme is basically that no one flew in an airplane — until they did. Nobody used a microwave oven — until they did. Nobody had an email account — until they did. And no one used a smartphone — until they did. All these miracles of technology were feared or even loathed before they became part of popular culture. Electric cars will be the same. No one will want one and then all of a sudden, everyone will want one.

Check this out:

The message is clear. The EV revolution is here, and you’re either on the bus or off the bus.

Where Is The Hyundai Ioniq 5 Standard Range?

On the reddit EV chat today, one poster is asking why he can’t find any mention of the Ioniq 5 Standard Range, the low priced car with the 58 kWh battery, a single 168 hp motor, and a range of 220 miles. Many of us were surprised Hyundai would even consider bringing the SR to America. Volkswagen decided years ago not to bring the ID.3 5-door hatchback to America on the basis that Americans demand a larger car with more range. Hyundai seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

Maybe. The answer seems to be that Hyundai wants to use the SR model in its advertising to leverage its low price — under $40,000 before credits and incentives. Several reddit posters say the model is there on the Hyundai website, it’s just buried way at the bottom of the page. Hyundai seems to be playing the same game as Tesla and most other manufacturers — featuring its more expensive models that earn the highest profits. If there aren’t enough batteries to go around, why wouldn’t you prioritize your most profitable models?

Makes perfect sense to everyone except those who crave a low cost, basic electric car with few frills. It’s like finding the lowest price Tesla Model 3. It was available, but you had to order it specially and be willing to jump through hoops to get it. If we had to guess, we imagine the Ioniq 5 SR will be the same. You can get it, but only if you work hard to find one and force Hyundai to sell you one. If we are wrong about that, we would be happy to hear from a Hyundai representative what the real story is.

The Takeaway

We can’t explain why Tesla can sell every car it can weld, bolt, glue, and cast together without a traditional advertising campaign, or why Hyundai needs to spend millions to create an EV ad for the NFL playoffs — some of the most expensive ad slots of the year. But in the end, it hardly matters. Hyundai and KIA are normalizing what it means to drive an electric car, and doing it with a sense of humor that is endearing instead of confrontational. That’s a service to the EV community and an overheated Earth that desperately needs a respite from fossil fuel pollution.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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