Jeff Bridges has parted company with Hyundai, replaced by Kim Basinger just in time for for the Oscars. But it’s all good and everyone is happy.
Bridges has been the voice of Hyundai for the past three years, and the South Korean automaker is the exclusive automotive sponsor for the Academy Awards broadcast. But Bridges is also nominated as Best Actor for his performance in Crazy Heart.
And therein lies the problem. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences prohibits sponsors from running advertising featuring any of the night’s nominees or presenters,which put Hyundai in a bind.
In order to comply with the rules , Hyundai decided to make seven commercials with other actors’ voices. Bridges suggested a short list of colleagues, and last week Hyundai finished recording the final ad with assists from Kim Basinger, Richard Dreyfuss, David Duchovny, Catherine Keener, Michael Madsen, Mandy Patinkin and Martin Sheen.
Hyundai has purchased seven ads that will air during the program and in one pre-show spot. Hyundai signed a three-year option with ABC in 2009.
According to Chris Perry, director of marketing communications for Hyundai, the Oscars buy focuses on the 2011 Sonata, a mid-sized sedan poised to take on Toyota’s Camry and the Honda Accord. Of the eight spots that will air during the Academy Awards, six will be devoted to the Sonata, while the remaining two will tout the Genesis coupe.
“Our presence in the Academy Awards continues our ‘Big Voices in Big Places’ mantra that we started delivering on earlier this year,” Perry said. “We started with the Super Bowl, we’re back for our second Oscars and you’re going to see a lot of us in the [FIFA] World Cup.”