What’s Hyundai Getting Out of its Zombie Display at LA Auto Show?

by Jon LeSage, remar­ket­ing edi­tor at Auto­mo­tive Digest

Here’s my thoughts on why Hyundai has made this mar­ket­ing invest­ment…..

If you’re attend­ing the LA Auto Show, go to the ground floor of the South Hall and see Hyundai’s “Sur­vive the Zom­bie Apoc­a­lypse.” While it may have been placed there for the LA Auto Show, it was right next to the Con­nect­ed Car Expo dis­play booths and sort of stole the show. Pan­elists at Con­nect­ed Car talked about the poten­tial of dri­ver­less cars to suc­ceed, deal­ing with dis­tract­ed dri­ving, and how OEMs and tech­nol­o­gy giants can work togeth­er more smooth­ly – but the zom­bie dis­play did grab most of my inter­est.

The zom­bie dis­play showed altered ver­sions of two of its pop­u­lar mod­els, with these being renamed the Hyundai San­ta Fe ZSM and Veloster Tur­bo ZSM (ZSM stands for Zom­bie Sur­vival Machine). These anti-zom­bie pack­ages are sure to be more expen­sive than the MSRP start­ing price ver­sions – but you do get all kinds of perks to fight off the undead – such as knife-blade wheels, dual chain­saws, a doom whis­tle, and a machine gun.

Hyundai’s dis­play was start­ed by Robert Kir­m­man, cre­ator of “The Walk­ing Dead” com­ic series (that inspired the hit TV series), design­ing a Zom­bie Sur­vival Machine around a Veloster ear­li­er this year. The San­ta Fe ZSM design was built by Galpin Auto Sports and was unveiled at the New York Com­ic Con last month.

So what could be behind this apoc­a­lyp­tic mar­ket­ing cam­paign? Here are a few of my thoughts…..

• It’s got be pret­ty darn cool for a lot of peo­ple to see, espe­cial­ly Mil­len­ni­als and fans of “The Walk­ing Dead.”
• The San­ta Fe and Veloster are doing well in sales, but these two were cho­sen for the dis­play. They do have some of the rugged, off-road­ing, util­i­tar­i­an appeal of the Sub­aru Forester and Out­back and could be com­pet­ing direct­ly.
• Going to Com­ic Con and Con­nect­ed Car Expo makes sense for tar­get­ed event mar­ket­ing, giv­en the inter­ests of the niche mar­kets attend­ing these types of con­fer­ences and expo dis­plays.

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