Bold Hyundai Chases Ford Into '24'

No exclusivity means both auto brands appear in Fox serial

Counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer will now vanquish the enemies of the nation in a Hyundai.

The Korean car giant snapped up the branded entertainment opportunity as Big Three automaker Ford opted for a reduced role in Fox’s successful drama series 24.

A spokesman for Hyundai Motor America confirmed its product-integration sponsorship and presence in the seventh season of the long-running espionage series. “We’re delighted with the exposure we have received from one of the top-rated shows on TV,” the spokesman said. “It’s a great way to open eyes to our terrific products.”

Hyundai's media agency Initiative negotiated the deal. 

In a branded entertainment twist worthy of the show itself, both Ford and Hyundai vehicles are now appearing on the show, with government employees still driving around in Ford’s trucks and cars. Hyundai did not buy category exclusivity.

One executive with knowledge of talks said Ford had maintained category exclusivity of 24 until the new season.

Al Uzielli, a Ford senior adviser who runs its branded entertainment partnerships in Hollywood, disputes that: “Since the F-150 [Ford pickup deal] there was nothing in writing. They came to us first when they need [vehicles]—category exclusive it was not.” Ford’s deal has been to provide cars on a product placement basis.

Ford’s Expedition and Escape brands are expected to remain in the show.

“There has been a relationship with Ford from the beginning; we [now] have a marketing partnership with Hyundai, and you’ll see integrations with the company in the series,” says Jean Rossi, executive VP of sales for Fox.

According to data from Nielsen IAG, which measures ad effectiveness, Hyundai’s integrations on the show were twice as effective as brand messaging elsewhere in primetime, with brand recall 124% higher than for other primetime shows.

In fact, IAG says that Fox’s 24 ranks among the most influential programs in primetime for new car prospects.
Hyundai is also filling General Motors’ shoes on this year’s Oscars show on ABC, and will appear on NBC’s Super Bowl, too.

Ford, meanwhile, continues to shake up its ad ranks; a couple of top execs have exited. But it still has deals with some major programs, including American Idol and Fox’s rookie drama Fringe.