Regardless of headlines, ask any Madison Avenue executive and they are bound to mention the NFL as still being one of, if not the most coveted property in the country when it comes to sponsorship spending.
One of the brands that has been able to benefit in recent years from associating itself with the NFL is Hyundai.
Now in its fourth year as the official car and SUV of the league, the brand was looking for a way to deepen its presence inside the NFL and put its marks on full display during one of the week’s most-watched shows.
To do this, they turned to NBC and the Sunday Night Football Kickoff show.
“Sunday Night Football has been primetime television’s No. 1 show for an unprecedented seven consecutive seasons, averaging more than 18 million viewers each week last season,” said Dean Evans, CMO for Hyundai Motor America. “We are off to a great start through four weeks and are looking forward to the many marquee matchups throughout the season.”
As part of the deal, Hyundai is also creating a custom-branded content series called “Cover 2” throughout the season. Episode One, which aired this past Sunday, featured Ed Reed and Hines Ward reminiscing about the times they would go up against each other and what the Baltimore and Pittsburgh rivalry meant to the players who played in it.
Its this type of activation that Evans and Hyundai are looking for to create “360-degree programming with consistency of messaging across experiential, TV, digital and social.”
A pivotal factor for the brand, the 360-degree programming is meant to be able to meet the consumer wherever they happen to be with content or experiences that are relevant to them at that point in time.
For Hyundai, the partnership with the NFL is about aligning the brand with a “passion” of a person. In this case, that passion is being a fan.
“We believe that fan passion is a great emotional connection for Hyundai,” added Evans. “As a brand, we have a long history of celebrating fan passion across the globe.”
It’s not only just 187 million passionate fans that brought Hyundai to the table, it was also the alignment of the two brands CSR initiatives. As Evans puts it, the auto manufacturer was “drawn to the NFL” because of “similar charitable commitments.”
Outside of the official sponsorship with the league and the Sunday night partnership, the South Korean auto manufacturer also has a local presence thanks to deals with the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
According to a recent report from MKTG and the WARC, companies around the world are set to spend $65.8 billion on sponsorship deals in 2018, but only 19 percent of sponsorship professionals say they can measure a tangible ROI.
Not the case for Evans and Hyundai, who point to a positive increase in both brand awareness and purchasing intent from NFL fans.
“Through our tracking of the NFL partnership, we’ve found that avid NFL fans now have a stronger opinion and connection with Hyundai. Fans who are aware of the sponsorship feel a stronger connection to the brand, are more likely to take an action with us and have a higher purchase consideration.”
From the regular season to the Super Bowl, Hyundai finds itself in the thick of the conversation during the sports biggest games — all of which is by design.
“Overall, our goals are to increase awareness and purchase intent among the 187 million NFL fans across the country.”
According to the data, they’re doing just that.