New Hyundai i20 does a Hollywood spy-thriller campaign

The Elite i20 gets a shot of Hollywood glamour with Innocean's campaign that the agency calls a 'cinemercial'

e4m by Ankur Singh
Updated: Aug 28, 2014 8:33 AM
New Hyundai i20 does a Hollywood spy-thriller campaign

In a crowded premium passenger car market, the i20 has worked well for Hyundai that has targeted the high-end hatchback user. The auto major recently launched a premium offering, the i20 Elite, to take on VW Polo, Fiat Punto, Honda Jazz and Maruti Suzuki Swift.  Designed at the brand's Design Centre in Russelsheim, Germany, the model sports a new look – the  Fluidic Sculpture 2.0' design- while retaining its mechanical features.


The commercial opens with the protagonist being targeted by a sniper from a roof top. A woman follows the operation by tracking each move he makes on a giant screen. She tells the gunman to shoot, but asks him to aim at the legs. He walks out of a building and picks up a ringing public phone. The woman tells him, “You can't just walk away. You have to compromise. There is no choice.” He walks away saying, "I always have a choice, to un-compromise.” After fighting off three men who confront him in a parking lot, he drives away in a red i20 Elite. The woman orders her men to chase him, tracking his movement through his mobile. He evades them all and ends victorious, forming the words ‘I quit’ on the screen in the process. A voiceover introduces the new i20.

Watch the video here:

Makers speak

“Our team at Innocean worked on the brief in a ground-up fashion, trying to piece together a new algorithm for this brand and its target audience,” says Vivek Srivastava, Joint Managing Director, Innocean. “There were extensive qualitative studies carried out to understand the mindset of the segment loyalists and their motivations. This revealed that there was a feeling of ‘compromise’ within this lot with compact sedans or small SUVs. Capitalising on this we positioned this car as one that's beyond all hatch-backs’,” added Smriti Chawla, Client Services Director.

The creative idea aimed to position i20 owners as a class apart. Hence the brand name was tagged with the prefix—The Elite i20.

Koustuv Chatterjee, Executive Creative Director of Innocean who led this campaign added, “The idea of 'Un-compromise' comes from the product itself. Add to that the edgy personality of the i20, and you get a cinematic story of a secret agent, who would rather quit than compromise with his beliefs. The car becomes not only his partner in outsmarting his pursuers, but also his pen with which he etches his resignation in style, using the entire city as his canvas.”

To achieve this, the agency put together a large format launch campaign that looked at capturing the car's styling, performance and newness along with an ‘Elite’ user imagery in a Hollywood style action thriller. “This launch campaign is not about a TVC rather  it is about a ‘cinemercial’ with a large dose of attitude which is sure to create buzz,” added Chatterjee. The trailer and the launch film have an unmistakable spy thriller feel about them, shot at Romanian locations by Alexander Paul, a renowned LA-based director and Bang Bang Films as the production house.

Even the print ads, OOH and activations have been aligned to this Hollywood blockbuster feel. “The overall effort is to create a surround feel for the consumer to fit our definition which is seamless across the various touch-points,” says Arjun Modayil, Executive Director of Innocean. The launch is backed by presence in print media, OOH, TV channels which include news, lifestyle and GEC, digital and a 15 city intensive activation plan which utilizes a bespoke game based on the theme as well.


Ananda Ray, Creative Head, Rediffusion Y&R, said, “I had passed Hyundai showrooms with the term “un-compromise” pasted across their windows much before I actually had a chance to watch the Hyundai i20 Elite commercial. I thought the term was, if not revolutionary, interesting—and could lead to some exciting communication. However, when I saw the commercial itself, it was a huge let down. Formulaic, clichéd and with a story line that triggered nothing within me. Even the thrill of the chase was missing. As far as the product shots go, the interior shots were incidental, the car’s upgraded (from the previous i20 version) features were not highlighted – it was just a red car running helter skelter. Big budgets, small impression—basically, a whole lot of nothing.

Whether the campaign leads to rise in sales and increased consumer interest is yet to be seen. But the attempt to make it big sure is working. According to the company statement, the initial response has been thrilling to say the least. The YouTube views of the trailers had clocked a figure of 600,000 and the cinemercial version has already clocked 310,916 views in just two days. Hyundai dealerships have reported a spike in enquiries.

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