Hyundai Looks to Make a Splash in Shark Week

Hyundai is diving into Discovery’s Shark Week for the first time in years using a package that includes custom content, exclusive ad opportunities, in-show messaging and multi-platform support to put some teeth into a new campaign for its line of SUVs.

For the 31st annual Shark Week, Hyundai will be the only auto sponsor. The automaker has been looking for high-profile programming for its “Better Drives Us” campaign, which has already appeared in the Super Bowl and during the Women’s World Cup.

“Since summer is typically a lighter TV viewing season, we wanted to align with the large-scale moments that do happen,” said Paul Imhoff, director, marketing communications, at Hyundai Motor America. “Shark Week has a long standing history and is something everyone looks forward to every year, and has for over 30 years now. It is one of the few TV events during July that draws a large viewership that aligns with our target buyers and creates a cultural conversation.”

Before Shark Week begins Discovery will air a piece of custom content that intercuts film of sharks with footage of SUV designed to drive viewership. “There are those who go against the current, who never settle for best,” the promo says. “Adventure awaits. Shark Week starts July 28 at 8. Brought to you by Hyundai.”

Hyundai will also be the presenting sponsor of the first Shark Week film, Capsized: Blood in the Water, which is based on a true story and has its premiere on July 31 at 9 p.m. ET. The film will have limited commercial interruptions.

After the film appears, it will be turned into a series that will live on Discovery’s streaming Go app. Hyundai will be the exclusive sponsor appearing in that series and be able to run targeted VOD and over-the-top ads.

Throughout Shark Week, Hyundai will get on-screen promotion in lower-third graphics.

“We’re creating content that’s going to air leading up to and then throughout Shark Week for Hyundai,” said Scott Kohn, executive VP, national ad sales at Discovery. “We also are creating content that’s going to live online and also through social. “

“Digital always plays a key role, particularly given the targeting capabilities allowed by the various platforms. Not only are we able to reach viewers who have shifted their habits to live streaming, we can also leverage social to reach a broader audience, enter the conversation and target SUV buyers,” added Hyundai’s Imhoff.

Hyundai is counting on the sponsorship to boost brand metrics such as awareness, familiarity and consumer consideration. It will also be evaluating the sponsorship on secondary metrics including total audience reached through impressions, views, and engagements against its buying demo.

“Discovery was a great partner and we worked with them to utilize Hyundai footage and recast it using the thematic elements and footage of Shark Week. We found elements of the vehicle that fit with Shark Week, like the fin of our SUVs, the sleek look and power of our vehicles and blended that with those attributes of sharks,” Imhoff said.

Shark Week is a big deal for Discovery. Last year the 30th anniversary edition of Shark Week helped push Discovery Channel to be the top rated network among men 18 to 49 and 18 to 34 in all of TV in primetime. Discovery finished the month up 9% among people 25 to 54 and 18 to 49.

In 2017, the stunt drew $20.2 million in ad revenue for Discovery Channel, 59% more than during a typical week for the network, according to research company Standard Media Index. Kohn said Discovery was looking increase that this year.

“We’re always challenged by our clients to find what can we do differently. What can we do better? Shark Week is that amazing opportunity to create unique experiences both on air, online and in social and we were able to align our content with their messaging about their family of SUVs,” Discovery’s Kohn said.

In addition to Hyundai, new Shark Week sponsors this year include Universal Pictures, Discover Financial Services, Maui Jim sunglasses and Orangetheory Fitness. Returning sponsors including Procter & Gamble’s Crest toothpaste, MillerCoors, Geico and Esurance.

MillerCoors, back for a 10th year, will be featured the late night series Shark After Dark hosted by Rob Riggle.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.