This week, we're taking a look at some prominent Super Bowl LIV commercials. Today, Hyundai.
THE AD "Smaht Pahk," which was prereleased Monday, stars John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch and Chris Evans saying, then repeating and otherwise reinforcing (over and over and over) those two words, rendered in a Boston accent. Thus, "Smart Park" becomes ‘Smaht Pahk.’ Get it? Well, perhaps some more explanation is in order:
Hyundai's in-house creative agency, Innocean, landed on the idea of deploying three Massachusetts natives — Krasinski (Boston-born, Newton-raised), Dratch (Lexington native) and Evans (Boston-born, Sudbury-raised) — to pitch Hyundai's computerized parking utility, aka, Remote Smart Parking Assist. The full ad shows Krasinski parking with bystanders Evans and Dratch marvelling. At one point, former Red Sox All-Star first baseman David Ortiz gets in the ‘Smaht Pahk" spirit, too.
THE IDEA Perhaps reasonably enough, Innocean may have anticipated a Patriots repeat appearance during Super Bowl LIV. At least the odds early in the season pointed to one. Nevertheless, the Patriots' nonappearance hardly matters to the effectiveness of this ad. What matters is repetition — the drum beat of just one or two words, rendered comically. Once heard, impossible to unhear.
BOTTOM LINE An easy winner. Last year's "The Elevator" with Jason Bateman pitched Hyundai's Shopper Assurance program and has been seen nearly 39 million times on YouTube, which is as impressive as it sounds. "Smaht Pahk" just might do better. The ad is both a shrewd play on words and a shrewder sendup of a certain flavor of Bostonian self-assurance which Yankees fans know all too well. It's both funny and culturally authentic — albeit a heightened authenticity — which is a rare combo in any Supe ad.