Relying on pulling heart strings is an age-old marketing tactic. Pulling heart strings across space? That’s a new one, and it is just one aspect of Hyundai’s recent viral video marketing hit “A Message to Space”. With over 59 million views there’s no denying it was one of the biggest ads of the year so far on social media, but why did it succeed?

I’m going to look at a few of the key points that Hyundai won by leveraging social media and their audience, while also taking a look at what they could have improved upon.

What was the “A Message to Space” campaign from Hyundai?

The first thing that Hyundai did to make this such a huge hit was find a great story. All marketing is storytelling in some way, and they found a sure winner: The story of a young girl and her father who’s on a far off journey, and her desire to communicate with him, is a story that has been told a million ways across centuries. Hyundai just chose a 21st century version.

The next great thing they did was find a way to incorporate their product into the story, which you’ll see they did perfectly here in the video:

“Can a car deliver a message to space?” A simple question; a fantastic and emphatic answer of ‘YES!’

They take the time to extend the message by adding two things at the very end. The first is access to a behind the scenes video:

It only racked up another half million views, but that isn’t bad for a bunch of b-roll that would have wound up on the cutting room floor.

Where the video marketing met the social media marketing was with their hashtag #AMessageToSpace. Here’s the first tweet they sent out using the hashtag:

You only find out about this hashtag once you click on the link/picture at the end of the video which reads “Create your own message.” Clicking on this takes you to the campaign homepage. This is where people were able to really participate in the campaign by sending their own SMSs to people as a video message.

The campaign has now combined video marketing, social media marketing via the hashtag, and now mobile marketing via the SMS video. That’s definitely one way to make a hit in today’s digital environment!

Problems with the A Message to Space Campaign from Hyundai

Their hashtag strategy was not fully realized because they missed out on the chance to show it 59 million times. It isn’t anywhere in the video! They could have tacked it on at the end, had it pop up at any time, or permanently embed the hashtag in the upper right hand corner. They missed out on a key way to get views using Twitter marketing with this campaign. Maybe it wasn’t their goal, but why not get more followers after all this effort?

This has made it so when you look through the hashtag history you only see that the majority of messages are from Hyundai and other car companies. The large majority of the 59 million views never bothered to use it because they watched the video and that was it. Having just watched the video, they never saw the hashtag and never tweeted it out. All that they have for tweets from real people are these horrible auto-generated ones:

You see that message over and over and it’s just spam. Using the hashtag in the video, or even in the video description if they forgot while editing the video, could have encouraged more natural use of the hashtag and told a better brand story. Poor hashtag marketing is the only stumble in an otherwise flawless digital marketing campaign spanning video marketing, social media marketing, and mobile marketing.

Ernest Thompson

Ernest Thompson works behind the scenes as a social media strategist and general online marketer. He is the mastermind behind a few websites, and really does watch YouTube videos too much.

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