Reuters Links Hyundai Ads to Stories about ‘Smart Thinking’

The face of Albert Einstein might be the first image that comes to mind when somebody says the word “smart.” Chances are slim you’ll instantly envision a Hyundai.

A new advertising deal between Hyundai Motor America and Reuters aims to change that.

When some news stories relating in pre-defined ways to “smart thinking” appear on, Reuters Mobile and the Reuters sign in Times Square, they will be accompanied by ads for Hyundai. The “virtual brand channel” program — called “Smart Thinking Stories Brought to you by Hyundai” — is billed by Reuters as a first-of-its-kind form of virtual content sponsorship. It is part of Hyundai’s new “Smart” campaign and the launch of its Veracruz crossover SUV.

The content-generated ads will begin appearing today, said Reuters. Reuters spokesman Ty Trippet would not reveal the terms of the deal. He said Reuters is likely to work with other companies wishing to engage in similar campaigns.

“Yes, this is a model we can use with other advertisers,” said Trippet. “Hyundai has exclusive use of a virtual brand channel for the first 30 days of this promotion. However, other advertisers have the ability to develop their own virtual channels afterward.”

The “smart thinking” stories that trigger the Hyundai ads will include reports about all sorts of topics dealing with innovation, forward thinking and intelligence. Reuters cited as examples pieces about alternative fuel technology, smart cell phones and “innovative Hollywood movie launches.”

Reuters said it worked with Hyundai and Carat Fusion’s Los Angeles office to decide which types of stories fit the parameters. One can assume Hyundai is not interested in having its vehicles advertised alongside items about “smart” criminals.

“We have worked with Hyundai, Carat and our development team and engineers to develop an algorithm based on keywords and phrases that will pull ‘smart thinking’ stories from Reuters vast amount of news each day,” said Trippet. He noted Reuters produces 30,000 stories daily from which the appropriate stories will be plucked and surrounded with Hyundai branding.

“Reuters will provide continuous monitoring of the feed and adjust as necessary,” said Trippet. “It is a dynamic feed.”

The South Korea-based auto maker said the Reuters campaign will help “reinforce the smart aspects” of its brand and products. Without saying what the company feels to be its current image, Carat Fusion Vice President and General Manager Michael Soh was quoted as saying the Reuters effort moves Hyundai “one step closer to changing brand perception.”

Reuters noted its Times Square sign alone is seen by 1.5 million people daily and is the world’s largest digital display. Trippet said the huge display will feature some stories from the “smart thinking” feed that will be labeled “Smart Thinking Stories” and bounded by Hyundai images and ad copy.

It noted the channel will also be enabled on the Reuters Mobile site with Hyundai messaging appearing next to “smart thinking” news stories.

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