OK, word association time: desert, communication, space, Hyundai. Anything? Of course not. But the carmaker managed to find a way to tie all these things together and set a Guinness World Record doing it, by helping a 13-year-old Houston girl send a message to her dad in space.
Stephanie’s dad is an astronaut working on the International Space Station and she wanted to send him a personalized note. Enter Hyundai, which on January 18 took 11 cars out to Nevada’s Delamar Dry Lake and had them “write” Stephanie’s note, in her own handwriting, in the sand big enough to be visible from orbit.
It’s not just a bizarrely sweet stunt, it also got Hyundai the Guinness World Record for “the largest tire track image,” measuring 5.5 square kilometres, or more than one and a half times the size of Central Park. The brand’s site breaks down all the facts and figures behind the effort.
What does this have to do with Hyundai Genesis, the car model doing all that writing? Not much. But in the behind the scenes video (below) brand creative director Gun Ho Park says the point of the campaign is to show “a car can be more than just a means of transportation, but a lifetime partner to consumers.”
But for such an impressively elaborate stunt and inherently emotional story, it feels a bit flat in the telling, with the big reveal of her dad getting the message missing some potential emotional punch. Then again, maybe we’ve just now been so conditioned by all the sadvertising in recent years, that when we’re talking fathers and daughters separated by a galactic distance, it’s almost weird if we’re not fighting back a tear or two.