Did You Catch the Sneaker Brand in Hyundai’s ‘The Drop’ Commercial for the 2024 Santa Fe?

One of Nikes most promising and well-received running shoes is the
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A Ford Flex, Land Rover Defender and a Rivian were tossed into a mechanical blender and the result is an updated Sante Fe which moved from mid-sized round, familiar SUV to a beautifully designed vehicle I need Hyundai to deliver to me so I can do Lyft rides for people who don’t expect a Hyundai to look like this.

Seriously, between the Genesis line-up and this new Sante Fe, the line “Baby Benz traded in my Hyundai Excel,” by Biggie Smalls feels like eons ago… It actually was almost 30 years since Hyundai was the butt of jokes meant to ease the tension around the mistreatment of Rodney King by the LAPD.

The point of this post isn’t to recall where the Korean brand was, it’s to look at how design and a commitment to quality can completely alter the perception and reality of a company. It helps when a brand is making a decisive decision to exist across demographics.

2024 Santa Fe front interior

Visit the Hyundai website for the Sante Fe and the imagery is of a family: 2024 zapatillas de running hombre 10k talla 21.5

Click on the commercial the title of this post is highlighting, and the target is clearly aimed at those of us in sneaker culture. The title, “The Drop” alludes to the process of taking an “L” on the latest sneaker release. The difference here is the sneaker brand the main character misses out on wasn’t using the SNKRS app.

2024 Santa Fe. Claim New Territory.

The kicks Hyundai chose to use is a brand I’m very familiar with, Brandblack. It’s an interesting choice for the commercial and the Sante Fe. The song in the commercial is by Vince Staples. Yep, the Vince Staples most people now know from having a show on Netflix, but others who listen to Hip-Hop, specifically West Coast emcees, know from a rich catalog of music documenting Long Beach and the culture of the city.

Brandblack is also rooted in West Coast culture. The homebase of the brand is Los Angeles. The commercial takes “Drop” culture and flips it to a thirty-something brother picking up “something better”… the Sante Fe. The spot is extremely interesting and appropriate for less than obvious reasons.

Sneaker culture has aged up. I’ve written about how sneaker companies have missed this aspect as they’ve focused solely on “youth culture”.  The reality is many of the most popular people in sneakers are in their 30s-50s. Brands haven’t found a way to market to them, and because of this shoes which were selling out quickly are beginning to sit. Old heads are shifting to newer companies like On and Hoka, but not necessarily Brandblack. At this moment in the culture, kicks aren’t selling out anymore.

There aren’t many social media instances of people taking Ls. Brandblack, one of my favorite brands, aren’t worn by younger people and little than likely there aren’t people standing in line for drops, but this doesn’t make the commercial less effective. The commercial resonates with me and that’s exactly where it should land. (It also lands with an audience visiting Top Golf and rocking Eastside Golf apparel, but that’s a different discussion… kind of.)

Most people won’t recognize Brandblack. Most folks the age of these guys in the ad won’t realize the artist is Vince Staples. What’s important here is the wide scope Hyundai has used in targeting an array of potential consumers. The new ride is beautiful and seeing a sneaker wall filled with Brandblack kicks really made me smile. (I have six pair myself, lol.) Maybe sneaker brands should take a cue from Hyundai and recognize this, the majority of retro sneakers are being bought by older guys who couldn’t afford them when they were young. Those older guys might be ready to retire from Escalades and Expeditions also, wink wink.

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