Hyundai’s most famous superbowl ad may have imagined executives at Lexus and BMW getting steamed at the success of the Genesis, but that’s not necessarily where the upstart Korean brand is making the biggest impression on competitors. In fact, it’s Hyundai’s ability to market value so successfully, even in the premium space, that’s got the other automakers steamed. But instead of getting mad at Hyundai’s building momentum and reputation, GM’s getting even. Having already poached away former Hyundai marketing boss (and the man behind this ad) Joel Ewanick to lead GM’s entire marketing effort, GM just snagged Ewanick’s replacement as VP Marketing at Hyundai, Chris Perry, to head up Chevrolet marketing [via Automotive News [sub]. That’s right, two VP’s of marketing from the same upstart Korean brand, both poached away by GM… You think The General might be looking for people who can tell the momentum-turnaround, finally-getting-some-respect-around-here storyline?
The problem is that Hyundai has largely overcome its image issues already, mostly on the strength of its new products and its ability to market their undeniable improvement. But Chevrolet marketing needs a shot in the arm because it has products that are as good as Hyundai’s, but none of the sense of improvement or momentum. Revitalizing a once-dominant domestic brand is a lot harder than telling the quality-improvement story of a once-reviled Korean value brand. Hiring Hyundai’s entire marketing staff is no silver bullet for the General, and seems to indicate a certain amount of paint-by-the-numbers mentality among GM’s top executives.