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New England's Going to the Super Bowl After All

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A few months ago, one of the Bs was mildly inconvenienced when the entrance to his South End, Boston condo was blocked by a massive film crew. They painted and redecorated storefronts, constructed a giant rain cover to keep the inclement weather from the set, painted perpendicular parking lines, and otherwise disrupted the mild-mannered lives of neighborhood residents.

It was for a car commercial, the B was told, for the Super Bowl.

This seemed a bit odd. Most car commercials feature speeding vehicles on long stretches of highway, shot on deserted roads along the coast, or through major metropolises before dawn. How much, we all wondered, could they really highlight a car's design or performance on a single block of a small historic street.

This week, we found out.

The ad is for the Hyundai Sonata. And, while it's a perfectly nice-looking vehicle, the message isn't about its sleek chassis or its performance. It's about something Boston drivers know — and care — a lot about. Parking.

Or, rather, "pah-king."

Boston drivers are known for their aggressive, often insane, behavior on the road. And, do you want to know why they're so insane?

Pah-king.

Basically, when John Winthrop founded Boston in 1630, he wasn't prescient enough to anticipate the number of motor vehicles — and their irate drivers — that would jam up the cowpath streets 400 years later. Driving in Boston is a challenge. Parking in Boston is a nightmare.

So, it's fitting that the new Hyundai spot, featuring the Sonata's "Smart Park" (that would be "Smaht Pahk" to those who live in or near Beantown) should be filmed in Boston. The agency enlisted the help of a handful of famous — and very funny — Mass celebrities: Rachel Dratch, Chris Evans, John Krasinski, and even Big Papi himself (referred to in the ad as "Your Bigness"). The commercial is hysterical.

So what, you may ask, does any of this have to do with marketing? The spot is, obviously, great creative (kudos to Innocean!). But, it's also become a social media phenomenon, quickly racking up more than 8 million views on YouTube alone. It was shared countless times on social media, and generated tens of thousands of comments.

A favorite? "If the car comes with Chris Evans, I'm buying it."

With or without Chris Evans, it's a marketing — er, maybe we should say 'mah-ket-ing' — phenomenon.

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85iRQdjCzj0

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