Hyundai Built a Whole Town Full of Careless Crash Test Dummies for Quirky Tucson Ads: Don't try any of this at home.
Hyundai's latest commercials for its Tucson SUV
are set in a town with a quiet, but incredibly accident-prone,
community of inhabitants. That's because they're all crash test dummies.
bizarre but likable ads from Innocean USA actually take place in a
minimalist,white-walled warehouse decorated with street signs, lamp
posts and plastic shrubbery. The spots show various dummies getting
easily distracted in typical driving situations—they are dummies, after
all—and the vehicle's features coming to the rescue.
goal was to create a really memorable and smart series of spots that
refreshingly deviate from the standard crash-test-dummy commercial,"
says Innocean creative director Bob Rayburn. "The trick is that even
though our subjects were all dummies, we needed to draw viewers in by
their human-inspired, character-driven actions."
the spot above, the SUV's emergency braking system averts disaster by
sensing "absent-minded dummies in its path" (the mannequin driver stares
into a tablet screen). In another, the Tucson's hands-free entry saves a
tailgate party. (CTDs prefer bratwurst. Good to know.)
wackiest spot, for the vehicle's lane-departure warning system,
features a "hunky" surfer-dude simulacrum with flowing locks whose
appearance almost causes a female dummy-driver to veer into oncoming
traffic. (He's got a plastic personality, we hear.)
interesting element of the shoot was the fact that we had to fully
execute all the safety features in each of the videos—meaning we
couldn't edit around the feature working," Rayburn says. "Legally, we
had to show it working. Everything had to be triggered naturally, and
the car had to respond all on its own. It's human nature to worry when a
car is headed for another car and we aren't allowed to hit the brakes.
But the car came through, and the automatic emergency braking did its
in all, working with flesh-and-blood actors is a breeze compared to
coaxing usable performances from a troupe of dummies, Rayburn says.
to position them exactly right to get across the notion that they
aren't paying attention sounds easier than it actually was," he says.
"It felt like we were adjusting some dummy part after every take to get
them just right. The fact that we used a hybrid mannequin/crash test
dummy helped because we were able to manipulate them physically and
position them how we needed."
also less sensitive than flesh-and-blood actors. "We could yell at them
without having to worry about their emotions," Rayburn says. "They
absolutely nailed every take."
As a competing nameplaterecently taught us:Sometimes the best innovations happen when youdon'tthink of dummies as dummies.