The Korean automaker Hyundai signed a four-year deal in June with the National Football League (NFL) as its auto sponsor, replacing General Motors (GM). After 25 years of selling cars in America, the company is looking to show U.S. consumers it is in the same league as Honda and Toyota; and is spending big bucks to prove it belongs there. Mere hours prior to the NFL’s season opener, which took place on September 10th, fans flooded through Pier 35 for a chance to have their jerseys signed by NFL stars, and for photos with the Vince Lombardi trophy; and Hyundai logos were presented proudly amongst other major corporate sponsors, including McDonald’s and Microsoft.
During the event, a banner that read “Hyundai Goes Pro” sat among a Tucson wrapped in gold, near a carnival game where the public could attempt to throw a football in a hole for various prizes. In addition, Hyundai sponsored a free concert that showcased the talents of Train and Ellie Goulding in downtown San Francisco.
Working hard to maximize this current deal, shortly after the NFL sponsorship was inked, U.S. marketers for Hyundai realized just how much their work was cut out for them. As the deal did not include teams or logos, they were able to fall back on other sponsorships which Hyundai’s regional dealer associations had with the Houston Texans and the Arizona Cardinals; and this explains why the Cardinals were showcased in the brand’s first NFL-focused television spot – where a man bugs his wife by pulling out one piece of their home’s picket fence for his defense chat at the stadium.
Moving onward, Hyundai plans on targeting their efforts on the NHL Draft and of course, the Super Bowl. While GM has awarded the Most Valuable Player at the Super Bowl with a custom GM luxury car in the past, during their sponsorship stint; this is most likely not something Hyundai will be doing this year. A Hyundai representative states that the opportunity has not yet been presented to them.