Stacks of Gen-Z Won Incoming: Hyundai Ioniq EV Brand Endorsed by Famous K-pop Band

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Finding the perfect celebrity endorsement occasionally means deciding which public persona aligns most closely with your corporate image — and figuring out how to lock down that commitment by waving a wad of cash beneath their nose.

The rest of the time it’s just a matter of hooking the biggest fish on your reel and dragging that thing into the boat to secure an all-important photograph together. Hyundai recently decided upon the later for its upcoming Ioniq sub-brand by tapping the K-Pop icon known as BTS.

While you’ve probably heard of the Ioniq liftback, you may not have known Hyundai plans to use the name to create an all-electric subsidiary mimicking exactly what the Genesis brand did for the automaker’s luxury vehicles. Odds are also good you’re not overly familiar with South Korea’s BTS, unless you’re a prepubescent girl or happen to share their taste in music and/or androgynous young men. But we can assure you that they are indeed international sensations — heartthrob material that Hyundai believes will make superb ambassadors for its upcoming EV brand.

“BTS have broken boundaries across music, fashion and culture since bursting onto the global stage,” claims Hyundai. “The global boyband have made their ambitions clear for the world to see as they have gone about building their empire of adoring fans, delivering a message of positivity and hope.”

While we’re hard pressed to believe boybands have offered society anything new since the first days of the barbershop quartet, BTS’ fame remains undeniable. Adhering to the familiar recipe of amassing a gaggle of golden-throated youngsters and affixing them with easily digestible, one-dimensional (yet contrasting) personas has payed off massively for whatever corporate entity owns their souls. Their fandom encompasses the entire globe and is comprised of some of the most ardent supporters of anything we’ve ever encountered. For example, during some light research into the band we learned that they’re routinely attacked by rabid fans while traveling. A Londoner recently paid $150,000 to get plastic surgery in order to look like one of the members.

Hyundai wants to borrow a piece of that hype for itself and has commissioned the boys — all of whom inexplicably possess bowl haircuts — to write a song in celebration of its new EV brand. What follows is some of the most blatant marketing copy ever witnessed, along with an overproduced piece of music that taps into individual moments that are allegedly important to each member of the seven-person band. Take note: this music is “[empowering] you to live life your own way, in an eco-friendly way.”

From Hyundai:

The group have been prolific in their progress throughout the music business, pursuing positivity and delivering a message of infinite possibilities and potential. It has been a vision very much at the core of the group, but during their rise to global stardom the band evolved, establishing each member very much as an individual, all with unique personalities and distinct lifestyles.

This appreciation for the power of individuality translates to the world of modern mobility. This desire for experiences that meet individual lifestyles has been translated into Hyundai’s upcoming dedicated EV line-up brand, IONIQ.

Sounds laughable, right? Well, it’s already worked incredibly well. The song, which includes profound lyrics such as “when you run restlessly and get out of energy, I will charge you up. I’m on it, chasing my chance. Ioniq takes me there,” has already surpassed 980,000 views on YouTube — despite having been uploaded one day ago. That obliterates most global automotive ad campaigns we’ve encountered. It’s worth noting that the brunt of the comments seems to be from dire-hard fans with BTS-themed icons praising the unfathomable beauty of their favorite member’s vocal style.

Still, we don’t think Hyundai missed its target audience, hitting a bunch of BTS fans too young to purchase an automobile. It has made the new 2 minute, 30 second song exclusively downloadable on its own website until September 2nd. Most hardcore fans won’t wait until then to get it, however, and will undoubtedly be interested in the Hyundai x BTS music players being offered. By the time Ioniq expands its lineup to include the terribly named 5 crossover (coming in 2021), 6 sedan (2022), and 7 large crossover (2024), many BTS fans will be a little older, and perhaps interested in purchasing a vehicle.

Meanwhile, Hyundai plans to continue running with this marketing style for its EV products — maintaining a focus on making environmentalism trendy while offering customers a bought personality through one of several upcoming Ioniq products that cater to “distinct lifestyles.”

Let us know your favorite BTS member in the comments — if you have the fortitude to choose just one!

[Images: Hyundai]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 16 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Sep 01, 2020

    I heard about BST but not BTS. P.S. BTW Koreans make nice robots.

  • Punkairwaves Punkairwaves on Sep 01, 2020

    Two years ago I learned first-hand that BTS is a really big deal. While I was in Seoul my niece sent me a text message saying that her daughter was a huge fan. I had never heard of them. Her daughter was hoping I could pick up a BTS souvenir from the band's home country. She was in luck because at the time Line Friends (another South Korean thing that Gen Z girls find appealing and that I now know much more about than I ought to) was releasing merchandise based on characters created by members of BTS. I had no idea of how wildly popular BTS was until I arrived at the Seoul Line Friends store that was selling the merchandise exclusively and saw a line of people waiting in the rain for their turn to enter. I waited for over an hour, sheepish, because as a 57-year-old man I did not look like the other customers.

  • Lynchenstein @EBFlex - All ICEs are zero-emission until you start them up. Except my mom's old 95 Accord, that used to emit oil onto the ground quite a lot.
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂