I need to take a few minutes and give some love to Hyundai. The car company has embraced online video in ways most brands haven't dreamed, and they've almost sort of become a champion for the scores of YouTube creators hoping for a shot at fame. Judging by recent evidence, you might even suggest that Hyundai sees more value in hiring YouTube stars as celebrity endorsers than more traditional celebrities.
At Hyundai, Christmas & YouTube Go Hand In Hand
First, there was last year's Christmas commercial, where Hyundai got in touch with the popular YouTube act, Pomplamoose, and brought them in to put their treatment on a car commercial. And that's part of why I'm so impressed with Hyundai--they let the artists they work with stay within their own style. If you've ever seen any Pomplamoose videos, you'll see immediately what I mean:
And apparently this is no fluke, but rather part of a concentrated and intentional marketing strategy, because this year they're at it again. Only this time, they're including three popular YouTube stars in the campaign, and encouraging viewers to get in on the act and submit themselves to be considered for future commercials.
New Hyundai Christmas Ads Starring YouTubers
You might remember Jorge & Alexa Narvaez... they covered "Home" by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes. Their video entertained the masses, went viral (16 million views and counting) and landed them a guest gig on Ellen. Here's their original video:
Now check out their Hyundai commercial:
Fog and Smog were allowed by Hyundai to keep their trademark style and humor as well. Here's one of their originals:
And here's their Christmas commercial for Hyundai:
And finally YouTube singer Jessica Frech. Here's her most popular song/video, "People of Wal-Mart":
And her Hyundai spot:
Oh, and there's more...
This year, you can get in on the act, as Hyundai is actively soliciting videos from folks who'd like to be featured in a commercial like one of these. You can learn more about it at YouTube.com/Hyundai.
The first obvious conclusion is this: Hyundai loves online video. This is a great big bear hug to the online video community, particularly the do-it-yourselfers and upstart artistic channels. Why would they do this? Why would a car company abandon any kind of traditional celebrity endorsement in favor of a handful of YouTube stars?
Easy: fans. Each of these YouTube stars has a built in fan base, and a high percentage of those fans are of the digital generation--much more inclined toward social activity and sharing behavior. The YouTube stars in the ads can tell their fans, "Hey check out this new car commercial I got to do." The fans will watch, to see their favorite star, and probably share on Twitter and Facebook the way they would any other video from that star.
It's probably also a sign that Hyundai believes the future of online video is to be equal to or greater than television... Hollywood... or the recording industry. The stars of tomorrow might just as easily come from YouTube as from a record label, if not more so. I'm sure they're also saving money as well. Hopeful YouTube singers don't demand the kind of pay and treatment that movie stars do.
All in all, there are plenty of reasons to applaud the campaign, if only for what it says about the company's belief in the power of online video.