Hyundai isn't selling the whole car to a football-hungry audience. Instead, the ad shows off the Sonata's "Smaht Pahk" feature, leaning heavily on Boston's iconic accent to make sure you don't forget the new car features "Smaht Pahk."
Boston's trademark accent takes center stage thanks to the charm of Chris Evans, Rachel Dratch, John Krasinski, and former Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz. The ad opens with Evans and Dratch watching a non-Hyundai sedan try to squeeze into a snug parking spot. The car gives up as Krasinski pulls up to attempt the tight maneuver.
Evans and Dratch try to dissuade Krasinski, but the Sonata does have "Smaht Pahk." The three toss out some Boston-centric Easter eggs as Evans and Dratch grill Krasinski about where he could park and un-park the Sonata. Then Ortiz chimes in from above.
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The 2020 Sonata debuted last year at the New York Auto Show sporting stunning new look that sits on a new platform. The low, wide grille, sleek headlights, and radical daytime running lights may not tickle everyone's fancy. Still, it is evocative – something the sedan segment needs as consumers abandoned them for crossovers, SUVs, and trucks.
The new Sonata brings with it new technologies for 2020, including Smart Park. The car features active and passive safety features as Hyundai offers the optional Advanced Driver Assistance System that adds forward collision avoidance, lane keep assist, radar cruise control with stop-and-go, and lane-centering technology.
Gallery: 2020 Hyundai Sonata: First Drive
The Boston accent may be a bit much for some – and the ad's heavy reliance borders on grating – but it does make an impact. "Smaht Pahk," if it plays well with audiences, could catch on and be synonymous with Hyundai. The Boston accent even carries over to the Sonata's product page on Hyundai's website. Switch the toggle button at the top to explore the page "the Boston way," which converts all the text to read as if Ben Affleck wrote it while drunk.
Hyundai Reveals its Big Game Commercial, "Smaht Pahk"
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 27, 2020 – Parking in a crowded city was “wicked hahd”…until now. Hyundai released its 60-second Big Game commercial, featuring the beloved Boston accent and starring Boston celebrities Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch and Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz. The commercial, “Smaht Pahk,” will air in a prime first-quarter time slot and showcase the Remote Smart Parking Assist feature on the all-new 2020 Sonata.
In the ad, Chris Evans is outside a coffee shop in the heart of Boston and notices someone trying to park in a very narrow spot. Comedienne Rachel Dratch walks up and they discuss, in a way only true Bostonians can, how there is no way a car can get in that spot.
The first car drives away and suddenly an all-new 2020 Sonata appears. The window rolls down revealing John Krasinski at the wheel. He sees Chris and Rachel and in perfect Boston accents they talk about this impossible park job. John gets out of the Sonata and showcases Hyundai’s “Smaht Pahk” technology that remotely moves the vehicle into and out of the tight parking spot with ease. While he is commenting on all of the iconic Boston places he’s parked the car, David Ortiz, who is in a nearby building, unexpectedly opens a window and shouts down at the group to ask what is going on, before also finding out about Hyundai’s new remote parking technology.
The commercial also includes several Boston “Easter eggs” for viewers paying close attention, including the well-known Boston song “Dirty Water” by the Standells that plays towards the end of the spot.
“Using the Boston accent as our creative hook was something that quickly became a favorite during the creative development process,” said Angela Zepeda, CMO, Hyundai Motor America. “Remote Smart Parking Assist was difficult to say and remember, but a truncated ‘Smaht Pahk’ caught on when one of our creatives said it in a Boston accent. We thought it was a fun, charming and memorable way to tell people about this incredible new technology using one of America’s most-recognized and beloved regional accents.”
“It’s a common construct for Big Game commercials to avoid the product for 45 seconds, then slip in a mention,” said Barney Goldberg, INNOCEAN USA’s executive creative director. “We took the opposite approach and feel the ad is stronger—and funnier—for it.”
Hyundai Goes Boston
Hyundai’s amplification strategy began earlier this month when it released a teaser, Dialect Coach, showing Rachel Dratch helping David Ortiz prepare his Boston accent for the spot. Today, Hyundai launched the first automotive brand campaign on TikTok, where Rachel Dratch completes the #onedayafterwatching challenge. This popular TikTok challenge is where people show how watching a TV show, movie or being in a location over time slowly changes who they are. Rachel was able to complete the challenge because she had just spent a lot of time reconnecting with her Boston roots while filming the commercial.
As part of the social media campaign in support of this year’s Big Game ad, Hyundai and INNOCEAN have invited two well-known Boston-area comedians to help take on Hyundai’s Twitter duties during the game. Robert Kelly (@RobertKelly) and Tony Viveiros (@TonyVComic) will be responding in real time to fans and viewers, plus adding their own commentary on the game and other commercials. The pair will also host four segments of The Hyundai Quartertime Show that will be filmed, edited and published online throughout the game. Kelly has appeared in the movie Trainwreck and many television shows, and often performs at the Comedy Cellar in Manhattan. He currently hosts his podcast, “You know what, dude?” Viveiros has been performing for over 35 years, appearing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Denis Leary Comics Come Home, and in films The Town and The Heat.
Hyundai is also taking the campaign directly to the city of Boston with a letter of appreciation running in the Boston Globe, local radio buys voiced by Rachel Dratch, billboard advertising and targeted social media activities showing Hyundai’s love for Boston’s quirks.
Hyundai Sonata and Remote Smart Parking Assist
Sonata, the vehicle highlighted in the ad, is Hyundai’s longest-standing and most successful model, and the all-new 2020 version offers a bold, distinctive design, and numerous convenience and safety technologies. The car uses an extensive application of advanced technologies to boost comfort, convenience and active safety, including the class-exclusive Remote Smart Parking Assist. This feature helps maneuver the car directly into or out of parking spaces, boosting convenience for customers. Before a driver attempts to load or unload passengers or luggage, the remote parking function can prove particularly useful, bringing the vehicle directly into and out of a tight space. The driver simply uses the key fob to drive the car forward or backward into or out of a parking space, without needing to be physically inside the vehicle.
Hyundai’s 2020 Big Game marketing campaign was developed and is being executed by its agency of record, INNOCEAN USA, while its media agency, Canvas, coordinated the media buy. The Big Game will be played on February 2, 2020, in Miami and will be televised on FOX.
Credits: “Smaht Pahk”
Client: Hyundai Motor America
Agency: INNOCEAN USA
Production: Hungry Man
Sound Design & Mix: Lime Sound Design
Color Correction & Finishing: Company 3 / Arsenal VFX
VO Record Studio: NightBird Studios
Hyundai Motor America
Chief Executive Officer: Jose Munoz
Chief Operating Officer: Brian Smith
Chief Marketing Officer: Angela Zepeda
Director of Marketing and Advertising: Paul Imhoff
Sr. Group Manager of Brand Marketing and Advertising: Monique Kumpis
Chief Executive Officer: Steve Jun
Executive Creative Director: Barney Goldberg
SVP, Managing Director: Sean Gilpin
SVP, Media: Ben Gogley
VP, Group Brand Director: Mike Braue
VP, Head of Production: Nicolette Spencer
VP, Group Creative Directors: Jeff Bossin, Ryan Scott
Brand Director: Bryan DiBiagio
Art Director: Chris Dyer
Copywriter: Eddie Babaian
Senior Content Producer: Melissa Moore
Content Producer: Devondra Dominguez
Brand Manager: Christy Butler
Director of Product Information: Brian Bittker
Production Information Specialist: Charlie Ashby
Strategy Director: Zach Reusing
Director, Media: Sean Gilpin
Director, Business Affairs: Jana Nauman
Business Affairs Manager: Sheila Barrand
Broadcast Traffic Supervisor: Theresa Artaserse
Broadcast Traffic Manager: Christy Powers
Project Management Supervisor: Suzanne Cheng
Project Manager: Quinlan Sparks
Public Relations Director: David Thalberg
Production: Hungry Man
Director: Bryan Buckley
DP: Par Ekberg
Managing Partner: Mino Jarjoura
Executive Producer: Dan Duffy
Producer: Matt Lefebvre
Production Manager: Adam Whaley Tobin
Casting Agent: Boston Casting
Managing Partner: Carr Shilling
Executive Producer: Remy Foxx
Producer: Michelle Dorsch
Editor: Chan Hatcher
Assistant Editor: Nick Deliberto
Sound/Mix: Lime Studios
Senior Mix Engineer: Loren Silber
Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan
Color: Company 3
Color Producer: Gabe Wakeman
Senior Colorist: Dave Hussey
VFX: Arsenal Creative
Managing Partner: Mark Leiss
Creative Director: Chris Noellert
Executive Producer: Cortney Haile
Producer: Esther Minister
VO Record: NightBird Studios
VO Record Engineer: Mike Gaydusek