UPDATE: Oct. 21, 2019: Hyundai Motor America on Monday announced it has named Angela Zepeda as chief marketing officer following the departure of Dean Evans. Zepeda was SVP and managing director at Innocean, the automaker's agency of record, and has 25 years of marketing experience. She will report to Chief Operating Officer Brian Smith and begins in her new role today. In a press release, Hyundai called out Zepeda's prior roles at agencies like TBWA\Chiat\Day, Doner and FCB and expertise in marketing to women.
- Hyundai Motor America announced CMO Dean Evans has left the carmaker to pursue other opportunities after four years in the role. Brian Smith, COO of the Korean company's U.S. unit, will oversee marketing while the search for Evans' replacement takes place, Automotive News reported.
- During his tenure at Hyundai, Evans oversaw memorable campaigns like its "Shopper Assurance" ad starring actor Jason Bateman that premiered during the 2019 Super Bowl, and a 2017 live ad that showed U.S. military members during the big game. Hyundai had tried to do another live ad in 2018, but clearing the plan with the NFL and stadium security was too much of a hurdle, Adweek reported.
- Evans is leaving the Hyundai on a high note, with the carmaker showing a 2.8% increase in sales to 506,356 vehicles during the first nine months of the year, outpacing a 1.6% decline in U.S. light-vehicle sales, Automotive News reported.
Dean Evans' departure from Hyundai follows a successful four-year stint of producing memorable ads and modernizing the carmaker's marketing for the digital age. The exit also comes as CMOs at a number of major brands have left as the marketing chief role is evolving to include greater responsibility for revenue generation and digital strategy. Evans appeared to be navigating these waters relatively well at Hyundai, with the brand's work receiving industry accolades and the executive being named to Forbes magazine's list of Most Influential CMOs for the past two years.
This year, Hyundai received a top 10 ranking in a list of the most humorous Super Bowl commercials, according to a viewer survey. The highly regarded ad showed actor Jason Bateman as an elevator operator who guides a couple through a series of lower floors that each contain unpleasant experiences like a root canal, jury duty and the middle seat on a long flight. Instead of being dropped off on the "Car Shopping" floor, the couple is taken to Hyundai's "Shopper Assurance," which seeks to eliminate haggling with salespeople.
Evans also oversaw the carmaker's shift to digital marketing in response to changing car-buying behaviors. The internet has become the first place car shoppers visit in researching a vehicle purchase, making digital marketing strategies more important than the efforts of salespeople on physical dealer lots, he told Automotive News this year. The brand's digital efforts include a recent augmented reality experience in an app from concert promoter Live Nation that gave users an immersive view of a Sonata sedan.
Before being appointed CMO of Hyundai, Evans had the same title at Subaru of America from 2011 to 2014, and at Dealer.com from 2007 to 2011. Evans also was district manager at Chrysler in the 1990s and director of interactive marketing at Land Rover North America in the early 2000s, Automotive News reported.