Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hyundai Hopes YouTube Stars Drive Sales

Turning Web video stars into TV spokesmodels — or, at least, people who appear in TV ads — isn’t a new idea. But that doesn’t mean Hyundai can’t try it again.

Hence the car company’s latest campaign, which features a newish crop of YouTube hitmakers. Sometimes they’re making a direct reference to the clip that made them (sort of) famous. But if these things work, it’s not because they require the viewer to make the connection between TV and the Web.  The two work just fine in parallel. Perhaps there’s a metaphor there.

Jorge & Alexa Narvaez, perched on a Santa Fe:

And here’s their best-known clip, a cover of Edward Sharpe’s “Home” (a song advertisers love):

Fog and Smog embracing the Elantra:

And here they are, cruising in a Toyota Prius earlier this summer, making menacing raps about the Whole Foods parking lot:

Jessica Frech, extolling the virtues of Hyundai’s warranty program:

And here’s her hit, a tribute (or something) to the “People of Walmart”:


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald