In South Africa we are no strangers to having our most excellent TV ads relegated to the banned-box. Some enterprises, like Nando’s, are famous for flirting with censorship and even seem to bank on their TV ads being banned. These ads invariable attract more attention and debate than if they’d been run on a loop during the World Cup, proving that there is no such thing as bad publicity. This rule also proved true in 2006 when Hyundai ran a heartwarming TV ad in Australia and New Zealand, promoting the (then) new Santa Fe. It was banned a mere three weeks into airing.
The ad opens to the nostalgic strains of American pop-singer Gogi Grant’s 1956 hit, “The Wayward Wind”. An odd choice but undeniably effective, as it lends a certain “Born Free” element to the ad. In the opening scene we are confronted by a blond maned, cherubic toddler. The little Houdini is soon out of his cot and toddling pell-mell down the hall … and to the keys of the new Santa Fe. Exhibiting a dexterity beyond his years, the little rascal twirls them about his finger as he rushes to the front door.
Without getting bogged down by such pesky questions as “How does he reach the pedals?” or “How does he see over the dashboard?” or even “Why isn’t anyone calling Ripley’s Believe It Or Not?” the ad follows our little joy rider as he takes to the city streets. With one elbow out the window, he waves jauntily to peers and parents alike as he makes his way out of town, the automatic transmission proving childsplay to operate.
On a winding wallaby road, a hitchhiker holds a sign, written in wobbly crayon: West Coast. How a second toddler made it all the way out there without her own Santa Fe is one of those pesky questions we won’t ask. The two giggle and squeal their way up and down some mountainous sand dunes, the Santa Fe making short work of the terrain.
Finally, on a bright beach, a (full sized) surfboard is taken from the Santa Fe’s spacious boot (the rear seats fold down) and our cherub hangs ten little piggies. The ad closes with our two free spirits sharing a bonnet-top view of a spectacular sunset.
While the youthfulness of the toddlers neatly tied in with the theme of the “next generation” of Santa Fe, censorship got it Down Under. The official fear was that the ad would spur underage driving. (Which does not even merit a scathing response.) Nonetheless, the Santa Fe reached record sales soon after. And for good reason: our little joy rider’s expression, upon seeing the Santa Fe waiting in the driveway, has been mirrored by every new Hyundai Santa Fe owner ever.
Want to giggle and squeal your own way up and down the dunes? Book a test drive today. (And bring your license – to prove your age.)