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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