Hyundai’s automated parking feature goes by the name of Remote Smart Parking Assist. But in Boston, it’s “smaht pahk.”
That is the premise of the automaker’s celebrity-filled Super Bowl ad. The spot, which was released today, uses the city’s notorious accent to make the four-word feature a little more memorable to buyers who are bombarded with ad messages about technical bells and whistles that fill nearly every car these days.
The ad is by Innocean and will run as a 60-second spot in the game’s first quarter. It plugs the 2020 Sonata sedan and features four celebrities with links to Boston: Actors Chris Evans and John Krasinski, “Saturday Night Live “alum Rachel Dratch and Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz. Krasinski is shown using “smaht pahk” to squeeze into a tight space as Evans and Dratch deliver a Bostonesque play-by-play, including rattling off the names of Boston landmarks and towns as only a native would—like Boston “Gahden” and the Boston “Hahbah.”
Hyundai experienced a bit of bad luck when the New England Patriots failed to advance to the Super Bowl, which would have made the ad perfectly contextual. But brand and agency execs say the ad was always meant to stand on its own. The goal, like all Super Bowl ads, is to entertain and sell—a feat that Innocean exec creative director Barney Goldberg says the ad pulls off better than most, with its frequent mentions of “smaht pahk.”
“It’s a common construct for [Super Bowl] commercials to avoid the product for 45 seconds, then slip in a mention,” he states in a press release. “We took the opposite approach and feel the ad is stronger—and funnier—for it.”
Remote Smart Parking Assist is “such a mouthful,” Hyundai Motor America Chief Marketing Officer Angela Zepeda said in an interview. But smaht pahk “we thought was something memorable.”
To spread the word, Hyundai lined up Boston-area comedians Robert Kelly and Tony Viveiros to handle the brand’s Twitter handle during the game. They will be “responding in real time to fans and viewers, plus adding their own commentary on the game and other commercials,” according to the press release. Hyundai also produced a TikTok video featuring Dratch coming back to Boston. Her accent gets a little more pronounced the longer she is back.