Most Super Bowl advertisers spend months on their ads. Hyundai this year will condense the process into roughly three hours by filming its spot during the game.
The 90-second ad, which the automaker is calling a documentary, will air in the so-called "post-gun" slot that airs immediately after the game ends but before the trophy ceremony. Hyundai has not disclosed creative details other than to say in a statement that the ad will capture "some of the best off-the-field Super Bowl moments."
But the tactic demonstrates the lengths to which even marketers using advertising's biggest stage will go to stand out, and the creativity being brought to a showcase for a "traditional" format like TV commercials.
The director is Peter Berg, who will "shoot, edit and produce the 90-second documentary in real time," Hyundai said. His directing credits include films such as "Patriots Day" and "Deepwater Horizon." Hyundai agency-of-record Innocean Worldwide is also involved. Hyundai, an official NFL sponsor, ran two 30-second in-game ads last year, plus one pre-game ad.
"Super Bowl is the biggest day in advertising and following our incredibly successful 2016, we wanted to push the creativity and storytelling even further," said Dean Evans, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America. "Our brand commitment is to make things 'better' and we are going to give some deserving fans an experience they will never forget. Peter Berg and his team will be capturing it live during the game and we can think of no one better to tell what will be an amazing story."
The automaker plans to tease the ad this weekend during the AFC and NFC championship games with ads featuring former NFL stars Joe Montana and Mike Singletary.
While Hyundai's approach is unique -- and sure to grab the kind of attention that Super Bowl advertisers crave -- it is not the first time a marketer has used same-day Super Bowl footage. Reebok in 1994 ran a Super Bowl ad that spliced in footage from the Cowboys-Bills game underway. Read more about that spot in Ad Age's Super Bowl ad archive.
The difference with the Hyundai spot is the automaker's claim that it will create the entire ad during the game, rather than just insert some game footage.
The "post-gun" ad slot is not technically a Super Bowl ad by the strictest definitions. Purists consider Super Bowl ads to be national spots that run between the kickoff and final whistle. But the slot has proven to be valuable real estate. In 2014, for instance, Esurance won attention by running an ad immediately after the game that included a Twitter contest to give away $1.5 million. The marketer boasted that it saved 30% by running the ad in that slot.
Hyundai proved last year that ads falling outside of the traditional Super Bowl window can be effective and generate just as much attention as in-game ads. The automaker's pregame ad, which aired between the coin toss and kickoff and starred Kevin Hart, finished first in the USA Today Ad Meter (and helped prompt Ad Age to begin counting anything between the coin toss and the final seconds of play as a "Super Bowl ad").
Hyundai's plans this year include an on-site marketing activation in Houston at "Super Bowl Live," the nine-day fan festival downtown that celebrates Super Bowl LI. Hyundai's program will "include an opportunity for fans to interact with Hyundai vehicles and learn about its history of innovation, the overall theme of Super Bowl Live," the automaker stated.