Hyundai is taking a small approach in a new big picture partnership. In collaboration with Marvel Studios' "Ant-Man and The Wasp," the automaker in a TV ad shrinks its 2019 Veloster hatchback down to insect-size.
The spot, co-developed by Hyundai agency-of-record Innocean, begins with the loud vroom-vroom of an engine, before revealing that the sound is coming not from the life-size Veloster next to a police car, but from a shrunken-down one. In the movie, the tiny Veloster is driven by a character named Luis. The campaign comes in advance of the July 6 movie release.
Marvel has made a habit out of striking integration deals with auto brands. Hyundai will be hard-pressed to top the attention Lexus got in its deal with Marvel's "Black Panther" movie. The brand ran a pricey Super Bowl ad showing the superhero jumping into its Lexus LS 500 F Sport performance sedan. The investment paid off after the flick went on to become a major hit and cultural phenomenon celebrated for its primarily black cast in a genre where white men in tights typically save the day. Lexus says the Super Bowl ad drove a 37 percent jump in traffic to Lexus.com, while engagement with the ad on YouTube was the brand's highest ever.
Ant-Man (played by Paul Rudd) and The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) are unlikely to elicit the same amount of cultural buzz. (Although the movie posters have been praised for their gender balance.) The movie, the sequel to 2015's "Ant-Man," comes amid the competitive summer blockbuster season and is the third Marvel movie of 2018.
But Hyundai execs are bullish on their investment. "Being associated with that Marvel universe, that's such a huge thing," says Paul Imhoff, director marketing communications for Hyundai Motor America.
"It's not like its 'Black Panther' and it's done," he adds. "You've got to watch 'Black Panther,' '[Avengers] Infinity War' and into Ant-Man to pick up on all the different nuances that's going on with all the different characters. We actually feel like being at the back end of the list this summer is going to help us because people are going to flock to this movie to see what's going on."
Cnet reported that the film, while perhaps lacking the massive fan bases of 'Black Panther' or 'The Avengers,' is "earning some outsized attention" and could offer clues for the next 'Avengers' movie.
Marvel's strategy has been to hook up with a car brand for nearly every film, tapping into one of the biggest ad-spending categories in the U.S. To name a few: Infiniti plugged into "Avengers: Infinity War." Last year, Audi was in "Spider-Man: the Homecoming" and Ford collaborated with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."
Hyundai is promoting its collaboration with a promotion in Los Angeles in which it will place toy car versions of the Veloster at comic book stores and other retailers. The brand will drop clues about their whereabouts via social channels; the ant-size cars double as movie passes for an exclusive showing.