Hyundai Taps Oscars to Kick Off Disney Advertising Alliance

Among the movie stars slated to make an appearance during ABC’s telecast of the Oscars: a young Mickey Mouse and Princess Jasmine.

Hyundai Motor America will run a 60-second commercial during the awards program that links its vehicles to Disney characters in no small fashion. Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Princess Jasmine and Aladdin and the “Steamboat Wilie” version of Mickey Mouse all make appearances in the spot, which was crafted with Hyundai’s and Disney’s own creative team. The famous song “When You Wish Upon A Star,” from Disney’s Pinocchio, plays throughout.

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“We want to connect with audiences in a very emotional way” says Angela Zepeda, the automaker’s chief marketing officer, in an interview. “We haven’t done that very well in all the years we have been in the U.S. We have been a little cold. We tried to sell our sheet metal and didn’t’ tell how we care about them as consumers or how we can affect them in their day to day lives.”

Hyundai has signed on as the exclusive sponsor in North America for Disney’s celebration of its 100th anniversary. The automaker will be involved in other Disney events throughout the year, says Andrew Messina, senior vice president of Disney Advertising Sales.

Zepeda was impressed by Disney’s willingness to let her company make use of some of its famous characters and other intellectual property. “It makes this look epic,” she says.

Hyundai presented Disney with a wish list of possible Disney icons to use, but character appearances had to be negotiated, depending on whether the characters might be involved in other projects slated for release.

This isn’t the first time Disney and Hyundai have joined forces in such a manner. In 2021, the companies arranged for characters from ABC’s “Black-ish,” announcers from ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and even characters from Marvel to tout the benefits of the Tucson compact SUV in a set of commercials.

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