Hyundai and Canvas Worldwide Reap Big Rewards With Disney Campaign

By Canvas Worldwide InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Hyundai and Canvas Worldwide Reap Big Rewards With Disney Campaign

"Why do they have interstate highways in Hawaii?" asks actor Jason Bateman (who stars in the series Ozark) as he drives a 2022 Tucson down the road in a Hyundai commercial. Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project) has another unanswerable question: "If you had amnesia and were cured, would you remember you forgot?"

These and many other imponderables are part of Hyundai's "Question Everything" campaign for the new Tucson. The brand has been ratcheting up with phase two of its campaign since June -- which includes TV ads and digital content that utilize shows and characters from The Walt Disney Co.'s huge stable of world-class programming. Commercials tied to four shows from the Marvel Cinematic Universe are in the mix: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, WandaVision and What If…?

Captain America (Anthony Mackie) is in the midst of hand-to-hand combat as he asks, "Why do we say 'heads up' when we mean 'duck'?"

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wants to know, "If you're living on borrowed time, do you have to return it?"

And the action pauses in a segment of the animated What If…? long enough to ask, "If time and reality are a construct, what if we could rebuild it?"

The campaign's origins are explained by Jason Croddy, group director of Hyundai brand strategy at Hyundai's media agency, Canvas Worldwide. "We had the idea pitched to us from Hyundai's creative agency, INNOCEAN USA," he said. "The idea was to get the Tucson hooked up with some of the biggest names in pop culture. Our task was to actually make it happen. Should we make deals with individual actors, or go to the big media companies and work with their collective talent?"

The choice was to do the latter, and to go big. Canvas put feelers out to three companies, none of which had ever made a multi-series partnership anywhere near the proposed caliber. "Disney was perfect for us because they have such a large variety of programming -- Disney, Marvel, and even some ABC programs such as The Bachelorette and black-ish," Croddy explained. "But it was a big lift -- we were on the phone with them and with ABC 40 to 50 times a day working out the partnership. None of us had dealt with something on this scale -- it wasn't just one or two shows."

As to the commercials themselves, Croddy said the idea was to create ads big enough to run on the Super Bowl, even if they never actually appeared there. "It's huge," he asserted. "We have the first appearance of the new Captain America in daylight. We have Tom Hiddleston as Loki, continuing exactly where one of the most popular movies in history left off. It was a big, crazy idea, but it worked."

The Disney partnership is proving very effective. "We're seeing social media high-value actions up 150%," said Kate Fabian, Director of Marketing Communications at Hyundai in the U.S. "Brands are looking for partners that enable them to reach broad audiences. We have different vehicles for different life stages, and across its portfolio Disney has the content we need."

Hyundai is moving up in Interbrand's Best Global Brands Rankings. In 2021 it placed 35th, up one notch from 2020. According to Interbrand, Hyundai's global brand value rose 6.3% year-on-year to $15.2 billion in 2021 -- marking its seventh straight year among the top 30-something brands.

The Hyundai Tucson is 20% of the company's sales in the U.S., so it is critically important to the brand in a very competitive segment. Fabian said the Tucson and Santa Fe are outperforming the bestselling Nissan Rogue in online searches. As consumers check the price and their dealers' inventory, search volume has gone up 50% compared to pre-Disney-campaign levels.

Obviously, Disney and Marvel stars are iconic and extra-wide in their appeal and ability to get a conversation going. "Disney gets 30 billion social views, and reaches 89% of the U.S. population," Fabian said. "When we dropped the Loki spot, the response was phenomenal. People were saying, 'I couldn't be prouder to drive a Hyundai.' These characters have huge numbers of fans."

"We are thrilled with what INNOCEAN USA and Canvas came up with," Fabian said. "What we have is a true partnership, working closely with the writers of the shows. You could say we were brought into the Marvel universe, in a very collaborative way."

Mindy Hamilton, Senior Vice President of Partnership Marketing at The Walt Disney Co., said intense effort went into the Marvel ads. "We were dedicated to creating custom content calibrated to the precise needs of Hyundai," she said. "We scripted, produced and managed creative for the spots. The result is a sophisticated, compelling creative campaign that we're incredibly proud of and believe will resonate with Marvel fans."

Marvel actually produced the spots, ensuring that the action fits in to the closely guarded universe of the programs.

The "Question Everything" ads can be seen at top (or on Hyundai's YouTube channel).

The ads are funny, and Fabian said that brands "can't take themselves too seriously. But there's a lot of clutter out there, and we wanted an engaging campaign that would amount to a conversation with consumers. Our spots are causing people to take a moment and go, 'Oh, what was that?' It's humor and a bit of provocation." After all, as Elizabeth Olsen of WandaVision wants to know, "Why do they call it the Golden Age of television if it's all in black and white?"

The Tucson was completely redesigned for its fourth generation in the 2022 model year, and Hyundai is hoping that the "Question Everything" message translates into consumer recognition that the company did exactly that in improving the vehicle. The crossover is now longer, wider and taller, with available hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.

Click the social buttons to share this story with colleagues and friends.
The opinions expressed here are the author's views and do not necessarily represent the views of

Copyright ©2023 MediaVillage, Inc. All rights reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.