Cognitive Brand Scorecard: A+ for Hyundai's EV CAR Ad

Watch System 1 and System 2 in Action. Watch this Ad and read.

Hyundai’s new Superbowl ad for its all-electric IONIQ 5 gets a two thumbs up from me. The 60-sec spot features Jason Bateman as a prehistoric caveman, pensively and amusingly musing how humans have come a long way over the last several millenniums to finally the modern age. It is the lead up to the electric car story.

There is a well-documented system 1 cognitive bias around FOMO (fear of missing out). This part of the commercial, which draws on the related fear of being left behind, makes you wonder “hey, if I keep driving gasoline cars, am I going to become a dinosaur?” It subconsciously inclines you to consider buying an electric. That grows the whole category of electric vehicles, not just Hyundai. But that is just fine, since the market currently is less than 3% electric. Plenty of room for everyone.

The ad then continues to flash a from-the-future, cockpit interior of the IONIQ 5 with snazzy electronics and more. Bateman suddenly becomes more animated as he belts out the features “two-way charging, AR heads-up display, 300-mile range, what can’t this thing do?”

This is unmistakably Hyundai, the brand. In my book, I describe the “no-brainer” method as a system 2 play for getting people to switch to innovative products that are outside their comfort zone. When you look at the laundry of benefits of the vehicle (versus what you are used to for the Hyundai price point), you kinda go this choice is a “no-brainer! Heck, what are am I waiting for?

Bateman’s light humorous tone is also strategic. Daniel Kahneman found that humor puts people in a good mood, or at cognitive ease. When that happens, you are more influenceable.

Now, that’s how you do a “cognitive brand." The marketers at Hyundai give us a masterclass! I like it!

You too can be a pro at cognitive branding. See my book "Branding Between the Ears" at  online stores worldwide.