Hyundai’s Web Series Celebrates Zero-Emissions Road Trips in the Covid-19 Era

The 5-part show is hosted by Colombian-American entertainer Esteban Gast

The first episode of Hyundai Highways premieres on July 1. Hyundai

For some facets of the travel and hospitality industry—namely airlines and cruises—the worsening coronavirus pandemic has been calamitous. But others—like automobiles, RVs and outdoorsy, social distancing-friendly retreats—have more to hold out hope for. According to an ongoing survey taken by the U.S. Travel Association, 68% of respondents feel safest traveling in their personal cars.

To celebrate the freedom that road trips will accord cabin-fevered Americans ready to venture outside and adventure this summer, Hyundai is releasing a five-part docu-style travel web series that takes viewers to some of our country’s most iconic national parks and scenic drives in the Hyundai Kona Electric.

“Road trips are top of mind for people seeking a socially distanced adventure and Hyundai Highways showcases some of America’s most scenic drives,” said Angela Zepeda, CMO, Hyundai Motor America, in a statement. “The Hyundai Kona Electric has a 258-mile all-electric range, opening up the possibility for exploration with no emissions. We want the content series to inspire and provide a roadmap for people to create their own experiences through some of our most iconic national parks.”

Hyundai Highways was developed, produced and edited by Hyundai’s agency of record, the Huntington Beach-based Innocean USA. Innocean USA’s previous digital series for Hyundai (the Un-Adventurers) highlighted road trips in the era of Covid-19. The four-part series focused on the automaker’s SUV lineup and featured subjects that have never previously left the state in which they were born. Hyundai Highways places a strong and specific emphasis on zero-emissions road trips in the Hyundai Kona Electric, while also showcasing the beauty and history of Zion National Park, Death Valley, Sequoia National Park, Big Sur and Grand Teton National Park.

Per Jamin Duncan, creative director at Innocean, the footage in Hyundai Highways was originally conceptualized and mostly shot in November, and the plan was to release it much sooner.

“And then, you know, Covid happened. So we readjusted our rollout plan and how we were going to expose the world to it because we wanted people to feel comfortable,” Duncan told Adweek. “We wanted people to feel safe as they started to go out and explore.” Innocean worked with Hyundai to delay the premiere until it felt appropriate to promote responsible travel.

“This summer is going to be a summer of social distancing and trying to find places to go where you’re not in crowds of people,” Duncan added.

Each of the five episodes is centered on the majestic scenery of one site—including the drive to it, through it, and all of the curious points of interest, historical landmarks and interesting places to grab a bite in between. These destinations were chosen because, according to Brad Beerbohm, assistant creative director and copywriter for Innocean, they are five of the most amazing drives you can take in the country. “You know, they’re the drives that are so amazing and beautiful that it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road. And you can pull over and see and experience things that you wouldn’t be able to see or experience anywhere else,” Beerbohm explained.

Duncan also mentioned that each visit in Hyundai Highways, was—with the exception of the Death Valley episode—recorded on a single charge on the Kona Electric, a point that is underlined throughout the series as a way to further promote the green-friendly vehicle as essential for road trips.

The first episode, hosted by Colombian-American entertainer, educator and entrepreneur Esteban Gast, will air on July 1. New episodes will be released on each subsequent Wednesday for the following four weeks.

CLIENT – Hyundai Motor America
Angela Zepeda – Chief Marketing Officer
Paul Imhoff – Marketing Director
Monique Kumpis – Senior Group Manager, Brand Marketing & Advertising
Paul Meyers – Manager, Digital & Social Media Marketing
Tyler Branning – Analyst, Digital & Social Media Marketing

AGENCY – Innocean USA
Barney Goldberg – VP, Executive Creative Director
Nicolette Spencer – VP, Head of Content Production
Mike Braue – VP, Group Brand Director
Kathy Garfield – Director of Digital and Social Strategy
Jana Nauman – Director of Business & Legal Affairs
Jamin Duncan – Creative Director
Lori Martin – Creative Director
John Turcios – ACD | Art Director
Brad Beerbohm – ACD | Copywriter
Cassie Reed – Brand Director
Lacie Worrell – Brand Manager
Lawrence Chow – Product Manager
Jamie Fink – Project Management Supervisor
Nguyet Pham-Bui – Senior Business Affairs Manager
Celia Regenberg – Business Affairs Manager
Stephen Estrada – Content Producer
Kristen Miller – Content Producer

PRODUCTION – Valagardo Productions
Blake Vaz – Producer/Director
Alexia Madrigal – Production Manager

@monicroqueta Mónica is a breaking news reporter at Adweek.