Subconscious Influence in Super Bowl Ads – Part 2 (Hyundai)

Link to Hyundai Ad

Hyundai made a strong showing with their auto-emergency breaking commercial. The commercial takes you through the young life a boy from toddler to teenager. In the very short span of 15 seconds, Hyundai shows us 6 scenes where Dad saves us from imminent harm. Note my language in the previous sentence. It isn’t someone’s dad, even though that is who is shown. It is “Dad” and he is saving “us” from harm. This is part of the art of a good commercial. Let me explain a bit more.

Hyundai first creates an archetypal dad, one that heroically saves the day from our follies. He’s a dad who is watchful and protective, a dad who keeps us safe from the harm we inevitably are about to step into. To a young one, such a dad may feel like Superman, and Hyundai has added in elements of that hero to help us get the correct perspective. In one scene, Dad rushes in from off-screen to grab his kid just before his speeding bike hits a parked car. In another scene, the unaware kid is about to be kicked in the face by an overweight kid on a swing. Dad saves him at the last moment lifting him up up and away, safely in his protective arms. ¬†They also give Dad a human touch of clumsiness and distress to make him more relatable. He collides with a flaming bbq. He gets hit with a pinata bat. All this time, Hyundai is playing a sweet song in the background with lyrics like “You can count on me,” “I can count on you,” and “I’ll be there.”

Hyundai then ties this archetypal dad to themselves. In the final scene, the teenager is learning how to drive with Dad in the passenger seat, again watching protectively. The teenager, being distracted by a pretty girl, almost crashes but is saved by Auto-Emergency Breaking. This is where Hyundai’s magic happens. They ask, “Remember when only Dad could save the day?” Now, not only has Hyundai inserted themselves into Dad’s role, but they have also saved Dad as well. They are protecting the person who’s been protecting you all your life. If there is anyone you can trust to keep you safe, it must certainly be Hyundai.

[Continued in next post]

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