Hyundai goes ‘full Boston’ for its Super Bowl spot

Hyundai’s Super Bowl commercial will have a decidedly New England flair, even if the game will not. The auto brand is returning to the big game for the 12th time in the last 13 years and it’s featuring a bunch of Boston-bred stars doing their best Beantown accents.

The 60-second spot, led creatively by Innocean USA, will run in the first quarter of the game and will feature Boston celebs Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch and Boston Red Sox legend David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz.

The back story

The idea was born from the product, according to executive creative director, Barney Goldberg. The name of Hyundai’s new feature is Remote Smart Parking Assist, and he said the team started shortening it, so around the agency it just became Smart Park.

“We have a writer who has Boston roots, and he started saying it in the Boston accent – ‘smaht pahk’. The more he said it, the more everybody laughed, and we (said), ‘go write that.’ So that’s what really landed us in the Boston area, celebrating that iconic Boston accent,” Goldberg told The Drum.

During the ideation and production process, Goldberg added that the clients were saying the lines and the people in the agency were saying the lines. “We generated a lot of scripts to get to ‘the one’. This script jumped out and took the pole position and won.”

He added that they wanted it to be truly authentic to Boston, and that includes throwing in Easter eggs that are Boston-centric. Part of that came from production company Hungry Man and director Bryan Buckley, who is originally from the Boston area.

The spot

The concept of the spot is that Evans and Dratch are on the street watching a guy try to park in a really tight spot and it doesn’t work out for the guy and they start saying things like ‘look at this pahk job’, and ‘he’s nevah gonna fit that cah in there.’

The driver eventually gives up and leaves, then Krasinski pulls up in a new Sonata and he says “look at these troublemakahs”.

Krasinski goes on to show the advantages of Smart Park, including that it can get in and out of tight parking spaces with the click of a button.

“It’s fun. We found the accent to be infectious,” said Goldberg.

Super Bowl veterans

Goldberg has been a part of eight Super Bowl commercials, most for Hyundai, but the real big game veteran is Buckley, who is climbing towards the century mark.

“We can’t say enough about Bryan, who has been dubbed the king of Super Bowls – he’s done over 60 (commercials). Bryan we would have gone with no matter what, but being that he had those Boston roots…he gets the little things that make it uniquely Boston,” said Goldberg.

One Easter egg he gave up was that the two guys parking the car at the top of the ad are Mark Wahlberg’s brothers.

“We wanted to do Boston proud,” he said, adding that the ad was shot on a street in the south end of Boston on a 33-degree, cold, rainy November day.

Making a Super Bowl ad involves a lot of pressure, said Goldberg. “You’ve got to bring your best. It’s obviously the biggest stage. Everybody’s watching. Agencies are watching, your peers, your mom. There’s no hiding. So, if you don’t do a good job or it falls flat, it’s a pretty harsh spotlight.

“I think the pressure to do well has always been there. The other thing is, how do you entertain people and add to the Super Bowl party and don’t bring it down? You don’t want to get too heavy or give too many things to think about in the spot – just go for the big laugh or go for something emotional. Simple always works. Single-minded rather than try to throw too many things at people. It’s a big loud room and it has to cut through,” he said.

The spot was originally teased with a promo with Ortiz being coached on adopting a Boston accent by comedian Dratch.

The brand also turned to TikTok for additional social elements. It will be supported on all social channels, including those by Dratch and Ortiz and two Boston comedians who are in the ad who will be monitoring Hyundai’s social channels on game day to keep the vibe fully Boston. The brand is even changing its ‘Better Drives Us’ tag to ‘Bettah Drives Us’.

“We think people are going to like (the campaign) and talk about it, and it’ll get Hyundai attention,” Goldberg concluded.

See all of The Drum's Super Bowl coverage here.

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