Watch new coronavirus response ads from Hyundai and Toyota
Hyundai and Toyota are the latest auto brands to pivot their marketing to address the coronavirus outbreak.
Hyundai will pull all regular vehicle ads in favor of a spot plugging its Assurance Job Loss Protection initiative, a spokesman confirmed. The automaker brought back the recession-era initiative last week. It promises to make up to six months of payments for drivers who lose their jobs and have purchased or leased their vehicle between March 14 to April 30, 2020. The spot, from Innocean, features sunny scenes including a dad pushing his daughter on a swing, while declaring that “nothing is more important than family, especially in uncertain times.”
Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer at Hyundai Motor America, in a statement called the Job Loss Assurance program a “true act of the Hyundai brand, letting people know we have their back during this extraordinary time.” She said the automaker “pivoted and turned off our spring sales event campaign” and will air the new ad in national and local broadcast, as well as digital and social channels. She added: “However, with the cancellation of sports and other key events, we have lowered our media investment in the short-term and plan to reinvest those dollars when we are through the crisis.”
Toyota, meantime, has pulled its March sales event advertising and beginning Saturday will run a new national ad campaign with a gentle, optimistic message aimed at reassuring its customers as the coronavirus pandemic rages across the U.S. The spot is titled "We are here for you," and was produced by Saatchi & Saatchi, Toyota Motor North America's agency of record for its top-tier advertising.
The commercial transitions from a series of panoramic landscapes into images of families and people helping one another, before ending on images taken inside an open Toyota dealership. Asked about the lack of proper social distancing in the ad, Ed Laukes, head of marketing for Toyota Marketing North America, told Automotive News that all of the video used in the spot was archival. Hyundai’s ad also uses previously shot footage.
The reliance on old footage—a strategy also deployed by Ford with its coronavirus reponse ad that began running on Monday— reflects the need to get messages out quickly, and also the fact that shooting new ads amid the coronavirus outbreak is exceedingly difficult.
Laukes said the message in the new ad “is speaking to the Toyota family, whether it be our Toyota customers, or our dealers, or our team members or folks that are working in the store or even people that love the brand for whatever reason, that this is a time to embrace your family, make sure that everyone is safe and healthy, but that there are better times ahead.”
Toyota Motor Corp., like most automakers operating in North America, on Thursday said it would idle all production on the continent beginning Monday, until April 6.
As for the decision to pull the sales event campaign, Laukes said: "I don't think that we're prepared to go out with zero APR for infinity right now, the way that some of the other automakers are. I'm not sure whether or not that message is actually going to resonate, and I don't know whether or not that message is appropriate at this time."
Laukes said the spot is the first in a broader campaign that Toyota is developing that will keep an optimistic tone to remind people that there are better days ahead. However, there are difficulties in broadening the campaign because of the differences in how communities are dealing with the coronavirus crisis, Toyota's marketing chief said.
"We're working through what we would call a phase two approach for right now that would be positive and warm. The big challenge that we have is the dynamics from coast to coast are so different" and so fluid, Laukes said.
"It's not like you can build a campaign that is necessarily going to be effective in Los Angeles or California that is the same as what's going to be in Iowa or Ohio, because the dynamics of the situation currently are not the same. So that's the one thing that we have to work out behind the scenes to try to make sure that this campaign is as fluid as possible."
Larry Vellequette is a reporter for Automotive News