Super Bowl Commercial Analysis: Hyundai’s “First Date”

Introduction and Letting Go

As humans, we know letting go is a hard thing to do. It makes us sensitive, sometimes breaks our hearts, but ultimately allows us to move on. The daddy/ daughter model is common here, and when daddy’s little girl goes on her first date, it comes time for dad to let go. Some fathers may feel that Hyundai’s 2016 “First Date” Super Bowl commercial demonstrates what every father wishes he could do to protect his daughter. Hyundai effectively interests viewers by incorporating a common teenage scenario, short story-like plot, and the principle of loving fatherly protection all into their one-minute commercial.

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Methods of Engagement

Hyundai uses a typical teenage scenario to their advantage by creating a story out of a first date. In addition, Hyundai adds Kevin Hart, well-known comedian and actor, to play the role of the father. With a commonly respected and easily recognizable actor on the screen, viewers gain interest in the advertisement. Seeing Hart promoting the Hyundai Genesis can also influence viewers subconsciously that he approves of the vehicle and its Car Finder ability. By using Hart and an intriguing story-line, Hyundai already has a strong grip on customer’s minds as they keep watching the video.

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To engage viewers in commercials, companies often display ones that apply to a broad range of individuals. Fathers relate to this commercial in the most obvious way, as Hart portrays the character of a father hesitant to let his daughter go on her first date. Women everywhere have likely been in the position of the daughter in this commercial, and teenage girls are the main subject. Even young men who are not yet fathers can relate, remembering times of stalking their sister’s date, or, in an utter sense of “protection”, causing any kind of trouble to get the first date canceled.

The Story

In the first scene, observe a young man arriving at his date’s home. Walking to the door and noticing the Hyundai Genesis parked outside, he looks confident and ready to conquer. He rings the doorbell, the door opens and he is greeted by his beautiful date, whom he immediately compliments. Suddenly, from behind the door, the father questions the young man, then offers him his new car for the night. The father knows his car is safe and reliable, and in offering it to the young man, he ensures his daughter’s safety while she’s away from home. He says, “Go on, baby”, verbally hinting that he’s not ready to lose his baby girl. As the Genesis drives away, the father glances down at his watch, locating his car with the GPS-oriented Car Finder feature. Here, Hyundai shows us that the father refuses to lose his little girl, and that his idea of protection means he must know her location at all times. Tension rises with a background beat, and the story-line draws us deeper into the commercial. 

The next scene leads us to the couple, who enjoy a movie at the theaters. Hearing a sci-fi sound effect from the movie, we see the young man reach to put his arm around the girl. To his horror, he sees her frowning father seated behind them! The young man quickly pulls his arm back to his side. The next scene shows an amusement park, where the young man plays at a game booth to win a stuffed animal. When he wins and the prize is removed from the wall, the empty hole left by the animal occupies the face of a snoopy father. Displaying a panicked look, when the girl reaches to hug him after giving her the stuffed animal, he pulls away sharply. The girl looks confused, and doesn’t know why her date refuses to respond to her attempts at physical contact. Although it may seem cruel, viewers know the father is simply trying to protect his daughter.

Lastly, the young man drives to a city overlook, prefacing his planned kiss with, “Favorite spot, favorite girl.” As he leans in for the kiss, he sees the girl’s father dangling from a helicopter outside. The father yells, “You’re messing with the wrong daddy!”. The young man makes an executive decision and says, “I’m taking you home.” Again, the girl looks bewildered and disappointed, and we see the young man’s increasing anxiety. Notice an easily overlooked element in this scene; the shark design on the helicopter! This final piece of “art” helps symbolize the inner feelings of a father when his daughter goes on her first date, and results in ending her first date as well. The Genesis, a safe car which the girl’s father has craftily provided for his daughter while away from home, carries the two quickly but safely back to the house.

The car skids into the driveway, making it obvious that the young man is eager to leave. “Back so soon?” the father asks as the young man returns the keys. Walking past the Genesis en route to his own car, the young man is startled when the father locks the Genesis from the front door. The father shouts to his daughter, “Honey, what did you guys do tonight?” He looks into the camera slyly, knowing everything. In the daughter’s disappointed glance to her father, though as viewers we know she didn’t see him at any time, the girl is clearly unsatisfied with her date. The voice-over booms, “Because a dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do”, even if it means following his daughter and scaring her date to ensure her safety. Notice that throughout the entire commercial, the father never approves of the young man having any physical contact with his daughter. This, in its entirety, is yet another example the commercial gives about the father’s strong love for his daughter.

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Conclusion

Throughout the commercial, the camera techniques and background music add to the story-like feel. After the two leave the driveway, we hear  “Another One Bites the Dust” begin to play. Due to the heavy beat of the song, the commercial transitions from a quiet evening to one suddenly filled with anxiety and suspense. Not only does the beat do this, but the song meaning itself portrays the kind of mindset a father might have on his daughter’s first date. The camera techniques in this video focus mainly on angles that are typical to what is normally seen in full-length movies.

Hyundai’s commercial of their Hyundai Genesis and Car Finder GPS feature allows for the incorporation of everything they wish to portray to customers. The car finder feature is made to prevent theft; however, in this case, the feature seems to function solely for stalking and protection purposes. The Car Finder feature allows the father to track his car wherever it is taken, and thus he is able to keep a close eye on his daughter.

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By including a typical scenario of a teenage girl’s life, loving fatherly protection, and telling a story through use of carefully selected props, Hyundai expertly combines a cute daddy/daughter story with bold advertisement of the Genesis and its Car Finder feature. Again, this commercial appeals to all, because like a protective father remaining by his little girl’s side throughout life, the Hyundai Genesis proves to be there for every step of the way as a safe and loyal vehicle.

 

 

Watch the Original Commercial HERE:

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