- Hyundai is honoring National Park Week by partnering with nature magazine National Geographic on its first co-branded augmented reality (AR) series, which features the automaker's electric and hybrid vehicles. The series, titled "Outside Academy," urges people to explore national parks virtually and physically, per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
- The AR series is available worldwide and has location-enabled features for driving trips through the Zion, Yosemite and Great Smoky Mountains national parks. The geotargeted content is available as an effect in Instagram. The series also is integrated with information about Hyundai's electric and hybrid vehicles such as the 2021 Santa Fe HEV, Tucson PHEV and Ioniq 5.
- "Outside Academy" was created by National Geographic CreativeWorks, the branded content studio that is part of Disney Advertising Sales. Disney is a joint venture partner with National Geographic on its commercial activities including TV channels and publications.
Hyundai is attempting to appeal to prospective car buyers who are environmentally conscious by showcasing its electric and hybrid vehicles in National Geographic's AR series about national parks. As the summer road trip season approaches and people look for safe travel destinations amid ongoing concerns about the pandemic, National Geographic and Hyundai are showcasing the great outdoors with an immersive digital experience that's also educational. The series is an opportunity for Hyundai to associate its brand with eco-friendly transportation that squares with many people's concerns about climate change.
"Education for millions of students was disrupted this past year, so we partnered with National Geographic to create AR science, geography and history lessons from three of America's most famous national parks," Angela Zepeda, CMO of Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement.
The location-based content in Instagram provides a way to reach younger consumers who are heavy users of social media as they visit national parks. Almost three quarters (75%) of U.S. people ages 18 to 29 use the photo-sharing app, compared with 40% for all age groups, Pew Research Center found in a survey this month. By creating an interactive experience in Instagram, Hyundai can engage those younger prospective car buyers as demand for eco-friendly vehicles, including electric cars, continues to grow.
Hyundai's collaboration with National Geographic on branded content is another sign of the vehicle maker's digital marketing efforts to reach younger consumers who are more elusive to traditional media outlets like broadcast and cable TV. The company's luxury brand Genesis in December integrated its messaging in an online cooking show produced by digital media network Tastemade. The series, titled "Origins," featured tips from professional chefs and let viewers order ingredients for delivery through Amazon Fresh.
For National Geographic, the AR series continues its history of publishing nature-themed content. The publisher in the past few years has created several immersive experiences including the "Everest Climb" that let Instagram users virtually dress as mountain climbers and travel up Mt. Everest. Before that, National Geographic released an AR version of its magazine to observe Earth Day, giving Instagram users a chance to walk around a 3D globe seen through their smartphone cameras.