Hyundai’s flagship Alabama car getting a star-studded Super Bowl push

Hyundai’s flagship Alabama car getting a star-studded Super Bowl push
The Super Bowl commercial for Hyundai's 2020 Sonata features, from left, John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch and Chris Evans. (Hyundai/Innocean USA)

The new Alabama-built Hyundai Sonata is getting a star-studded push with a new 60-second Super Bowl commercial. But don’t look for a Southern accent.

Titled “Smaht Pahk,” the new ad is highlighting the Sonata’s smart park feature using Boston celebrities Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch and Red Sox legend David Ortiz.

The Sonata is Hyundai’s longest-standing and most successful model and one of three vehicles produced at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in Montgomery. The all-new 2020 version has numerous convenience and safety technologies. The Remote Smart Parking Assist is what “Smaht Pahk” is featuring.

In addition to the Sonata and the stars, the real standout of the commercial is the heavy Boston accent the actors use in marveling over the smart park’s ability to fit the Sonata into a tight spot.

The commercial includes several Boston “Easter eggs” for viewers paying close attention, including the well-known song “Dirty Water” by the Standells that plays toward the end.

“Using the Boston accent as our creative hook was something that quickly became a favorite during the creative development process,” said Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America. “Remote Smart Parking Assist was difficult to say and remember, but a truncated ‘Smaht Pahk’ caught on when one of our creatives said it in a Boston accent. We thought it was a fun, charming and memorable way to tell people about this incredible new technology using one of America’s most-recognized and beloved regional accents.”

A teaser video earlier this month hinted at the approach and the humor that would be part of the commercial. Dratch is shown trying to help Ortiz, a Dominican American, develop his own Boston accent.

Hyundai has also launched what is believed to be the first automotive brand campaign on TikTok, where Dratch completes the #onedayafterwatching challenge. In this case, the TikTok challenge shows her Boston accent creeping back in more strongly the longer she is back in Boston.

Hyundai TikTok Boston teaser with Rachel Dratch from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

As part of the social media campaign in support of this year’s Super Bowl ad, Hyundai and Innocean USA, Hyundai’s agent of record, have invited two well-known Boston-area comedians to help take on Hyundai’s Twitter duties during the game. Robert Kelly (@RobertKelly) and Tony Viveiros (@TonyVComic) will be responding in real time to fans and viewers, plus adding their own commentary on the game and other commercials.

The pair will host four segments of “The Hyundai Quartertime Show” that will be filmed, edited and published online throughout the game.

Hyundai is taking the campaign directly to the city of Boston with a letter of appreciation running in the Boston Globe, local radio buys voiced by Dratch, billboard advertising and targeted social media activities showing Hyundai’s love for Boston’s quirks.

The Super Bowl will be played on Feb. 2 in Miami and televised on FOX.

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