By on March 22, 2010

Joel Ewanick is a name you’re probably not familiar with. I wouldn’t blame you, he works in Marketing, which is a pretty dull affair. However, you may be familiar with his work. He helped bring Hyundai to the mainstream with clever and well executed marketing plans. The Hyundai Assurance Plan (lose your job, return your car) was his idea. Not to mention during 2009, when the car industry was failing, his marketing plans helped Hyundai increase market share and even turn a good profit. Advertising during the Superbowl? His idea. Advertising at the Academy Awards? His idea again. Hyundai’s market share grew from 3 percent to 4.4 percent as of February (according to data from Autodata). To cap it all, he was named Marketer of the Year 2009 (the year of carmageddon) by Advertsing Age. So why am I writing about him? Well, he’s leaving Hyundai.

USA Today reports that Mr Ewanick is jumping ship to Nissan where he’ll oversee the marketing for all Nissan branded vehicles. When you consider that Nissan has its Leaf sprouting to market soon, it’s suddenly understandable why they want to employ people like Ewanick. And what about Hyundai? “We’ll definitely miss him. He made a lot of great contributions,” said Chris Hosford, Hyundai spokesperson, “but having said that we have a good bench strength in our marketing department.” Oh. So he won’t be missed that much?

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8 Comments on “Hyundai Loses Idea Man...”

  • avatar

    Hosford’s statement is obviously a little positive spin. Maybe Hyundai should have counteroffered a little more effectively so they could keep him.

    Mr. Ewanick represents the kind of people that GM and Chrysler need so desperately, but his job is made easier when the products can back up the claims, as in the case of Hyundai.

  • avatar

    If he did a good job developing his subordinates, they should be able to continue on their own.

  • avatar

    When jumping from Hyundai’s coat tails onto those of Nissan, Mr. Ewanick, you might want to wear a helmet.

  • avatar

    Good for him! He left before they had a chance to fire him. Hyundai execs don’t last long no matter how good they are.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    I’ve never heard of Joel Ewanick, but if this is the guy responsible for these marketing executions, then he’s going to be in high demand. Not only is it important to be able to develop and execute an idea, but it’s important to determine the right messaging so that it’s relevant to people when they’re the most receptive. The “lose your job, we’ll take it back” campaign was brilliant because it was relevant and, more importantly, it gave Hyundai something to say during a time when consumer spending had come to a standstill. And it gave consumers a reason to think twice about Hyundai. Other brands were cutting prices and cheapening their brand, but Hyundai was able to enhance their brand at a time when no one else seemed to be able to. I will probably never consider a Hyundai product… been there already. But for people who are a little less familiar with the brand’s bad-side, these marketing campaigns have really helped Hyundai’s bottom line.

  • avatar


    Being Mr Positive or Mr Negative…

    I wonder what is going to come of Hyundai’s begging stance.
    They’ve done the fuel rebate shtick like Chrysler.
    They’ve done the dont buy a Honda – Toyota, pay too much shtick.
    And they are doing this assurance thing…

    It doesn’t strike me as a positive.. or a negative.
    Just another sign of desperation in a company that just needs people to see its cars, if ya can get by the cheapness.

    • 0 avatar

      You haven’t been near an actual Hyundai in the past 10 years, have you?

    • 0 avatar

      > You haven’t been near an actual Hyundai in the past 10 years, have you?

      Rule #1:  When you build a car that matches the competitors features for a fraction of the price – expect heavy bean-counting cost-cutting to play a major role (i.e. – instead of utilizing high-quality interior materials, the hard-touch plastic materials are chosen, etc. etc.). Case in point – The early Mk4 VWs have some of the best interiors in the business for what seemed a reasonable price. However, here’s two examples of how the bean-counters got involved and decided that to save money:

      i.) Plastic clips will be used to hold up the windows instead of the metal ones that were used in Mk1 through Mk3 Jettas – causing the windows to fall when attempting to roll them up or down. (The clips were changed back to the metal ones).
      ii) Timing belt-driven waterpumps with plastic impellers which disintegrate before the recommended 60,000 mile timing belt change – causing a high percentage of overheating (due to the pump freely spinning after impeller disintegration), and damaged timing belts (due to the waterpump jamming via the broken impeller pieces). (There are plenty of aftermarket waterpumps with the metal impellers available – but the dealer will use the water pump with the plastic impeller since that’s the only ones they stock).

      However, the construction of the car (solid steel vs. recycled steel, diesel cast-iron engine blocks used in the gasoline engines, safety features, interior, solid chassis, etc) far outweighs the cost-cutting – as long as there is due diligence on the owner to do the research and correcting those minor discrepancies that arise before they become major ones.

      Rule #2:  The incidence of planned obsolescence is usually proportional to the amount of cost-cutting that has occurred.  The 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty is all and good, but how durable is the car after year 10?

      Rule #3:  You get what you pay for (See the first two rules).
      With my VWs, although I paid more, but based on my past experiences with them, I know I can correct the minor cost-cutting discrepancies and wind up with a car that will last more than 10 years. The less expensive Hyundais? I’m not so sure. Which brings us back to Rule #3.

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