Oct 31, 2009

Hyundai Capitalizes on Extreme Fitness Video

On Thursday, October 22, 2009 the parking lot surveillance camera at Extreme Fitness in Thornhill caught something quite unusual. A BMW X5 was captured jumping the curb and crushing the windshields of two cars, including a Hyundai Elantra. The footage was released on YouTube and went viral with over one million hits as of Friday.

Hyundai found a way to capitalize on the incident. Mighty, the new media devision of Bensimon Byrne, had been on the lookout for a media opportunity for their client, Hyundai. As soon as they realized that one of the damaged cars was a Hyundai, they decided to respond to it in kind. The agency pitched Hyundai on replacing the victim's car with a new one and creating a YouTube response video. Hyundai agreed, and the free car was gifted to Todd Jamison.

Jon Toews, Mighty's creative director, told Media in Canada that this is one of the greatest things he has ever seen a client do. It was not just a good PR opportunity, but it is a good example of the ultimate social media opportunity: responding a meme right away.

Mighty has created a video, an edit of the original video and the free-car presentation, to go along with a simple social media exclusive promotion through Hyundai's Twitter and Facebook pages.

The PR strategy positions Hyundai as nimble and as a brand willing to do random acts of kindness. The same cannot be said for BMW. It was their X5 which was responsible for damaging the Hyundai, but where is their video response? Why have they not explained what caused the SUV to turn into a mack-truck?

While Hyundai was proactive in creating a positive public relations impression, BMW has remained silent throughout the ordeal. What could BMW have done to counter the negative image of their vehicle and how could they have employed social media in the technique?

To see the full article from Media in Canada, click here.

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