Hyundai, in a push to appeal to younger U.S. buyers, has selected actor Paul Rudd as the brand's new celebrity pitchman.
Mr. Rudd, 45, is best known for his droll delivery in comedy films such as "Knocked Up", "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy." He replaces actor Jeff Bridges, 64, who had been the U.S. voice of the Korean brand for seven years.
"We were looking for a voice that could be recognizable and relatable to a new generation of car buyers," Steve Shannon, VP-marketing at
The first piece of Hyundai advertising to include Mr. Rudd's voice is a new spot for the redesigned 2015 Sonata. In the advertisement, "Co-Pilot," a man in the back seat of a car tries to give unsolicited driving advice to the driver. Every time he opens his mouth, the Sonata's navigation and safety features offer the same information first.
"Back seat drivers just met their match," Mr. Rudd says at the end of the spot, which was made by Hyundai's agency of record, Innocean USA of Huntington Beach, Calif.
During his tenure as Hyundai's pitchman, Mr. Bridges was the voice of several major product launches and marketing efforts, including the heavily advertised Hyundai Assurance program from 2009 to 2011. For that campaign, Mr. Bridges delivered a promise to recession-shocked shoppers that Hyundai would buy back their new vehicle if they lost their job, filed for bankruptcy or became disabled.
Hyundai's U.S. sales this year rose 1.7% through August. Sonata sales rose 8%. The overall U.S. market is up 5%.
--Gabe Nelson is a reporter at Automotive News