The Hyundai 2013 Veloster Turbo was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show yesterday - but you can drive it today, at least virtually, thanks to a promotion with the Xbox Live game "Forza Motorsport 4."
Forza Motorsport 4, released in October 2011, is a racing game that lets players customize and race autos from more than 80 manufacturers. Gamers are now able to put the Veloster Turbo, named Car of the Year at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, into play.
But, "It's not just the game, it's the platform," says Ben Gogley, VP of Hyundai media planning for Innocean, Hyundai's in-house agency. "The bigger deal is with the Kinect technology. They now allow users of the game to do a virtual walk-around of cars in a showroom."
The game's Autovista Mode takes advantage of Kinect to let users interact with cars and take the wheel. Kinect is a gestural interface for Xbox that lets users control elements of the game without a physical controller. For example, by moving around the living room, a viewer walks around the virtual auto show room. By reaching out a hand, she opens the door of the virtual car.
Gogley says Xbox helps Hyundai reach its target market for this car: "young, male, very wired in, avoiding traditional advertising." Because Xbox is now the portal to a variety of media, including television and movies, he says, "It's a fantastic place to put messaging against that audience."
Microsoft has been successful in luring other automotive advertising. In December, Toyota promoted its Yaris through an Xbox game tie-in, making an avatar of the car available in the game "Your Dungeon, My Dragon."
This is Hyundai’s fourth and largest campaign on Xbox LIVE. The last one, for the 2011 Genesis Coupe, resulted in more than 52 million impressions and 3.9 million downloads.
For Hyundai's previous program with Forza Motorsport 3, 45 percent of those who downloaded the virtual car went online to find more information about the Hyundai; 30 percent visited the automaker's website; and 25 percent visited a local dealership.
Gogley attributes the high response rates to the lack of clutter in the Autovista part of the game, as well as its high visibility as people enter the game.
Hyundai is making the Veloster Bonus Pack a free download. The promotion includes an in-game time trials event with an actual 2012 Hyundai Veloster as the grand prize.
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
March 19, 2014