By on September 1, 2020

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]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

16 Comments on “Stacks of Gen-Z Won Incoming: Hyundai Ioniq EV Brand Endorsed by Famous K-pop Band...”

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

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


  • avatar

    I have never knowingly listened to BTS until today. Just did a quick run-through of their top hits (>500 million views) on youtube, and strangely, the Mazda vehicle lineup is starting to appeal to me.

    (Nope, doesn’t work – when the music stops, the Mazda ‘all vehicles’ webpage reverts to normal.)

    [Changed from BTS to BTO – the view counts went *way* down, and the Mazda page was suddenly laughable.]

  • avatar

    We love BTS in our house. RM is our favorite. The man is amazing. But my personal bias is V.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I may be the only person around here with an Ioniq EV, and, living in a non-CARB state, I’ve never even seen another one on the road. But I don’t have a strong enough stomach to even try to watch this nonsense.

    If I watched it, it might remind me of the Chevy Volt dance from 2010.

    I thought one of the lessons of the last few years was that attaching your message to a celebrity (or vice-versa) – or building statues of men – is inherently risky because people disappoint and fail one another. A scandal with this band will mean they and Hyundai separate in a millisecond.

    Note to Hyundai: Build the brand and a good product first, and don’t reduce yourself any more.

  • avatar

    I don’t care about the boys in the band, but what the heck is that roadster they’re sitting on?

  • avatar

    I know you get paid by the snark, but the band’s appeal is real. My 50-something sister discovered them and is already in love. Now she streams K-pop on Pandora or whatever.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, but will your sister buy a car they sit on? This looks like a way to put Ioniq in the minds of the younger generation (and some older sisters) for the future, not this year’s sales. That’s taking the long view, but pop groups come and go. Ever heard of Menudo? How many cars could they sell?

      • 0 avatar

        Been around since 2013 and their worldwide fan base has only kept getting bigger and bigger.

        They have plenty of fans in their 20s and 30s, and even in their 50s and 60s.

        Bet Hyundai paid a pretty penny for the endorsement deal, but BTS is one of the few celebrity endorsers that is worth it.

        The point was to raise the profile and awareness of Hyundai’s new electric sub-brand and think that has been accomplished.

      • 0 avatar

        Already 23 million views for the various BTS-Ioniq videos.

  • avatar

    I heard about BST but not BTS.

    P.S. BTW Koreans make nice robots.

  • avatar

    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.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • EBFlex: Then why has case numbers exploded over the past 2 months? We were told the vaccines would stop the spread....
  • xtoyota: Not any more…… It’s the Hood Rats that control Chicago
  • msquare: In her position she shouldn’t have even bought the Boston Benz. Want a Benz convertible? Go find a...
  • MitchConner: Saw a guy getting out of one in downtown Palo Alto once. Had the narrow fronts on the left side and the...
  • MitchConner: Everybody who knows me knows I love buying cars — so a few would ask me to help them get the best...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber