Film buffs who happen to catch the new spots for the Hyundai Azera premiering during this Sunday's Oscars telecast might think the car manufacturer (which happens to be the official automotive sponsor of the awards show) is blatantly ripping off indie director Wes Anderson. As it turns out, Anderson himself directed the commercials, which isn't too surprising, given his general willingness to lend his filmmaking abilities to a number of brands (past collaborations have included American Express, Stella Artois, AT&T and Ikea, to name a few).
In "Talk to My Car," the nostalgia-happy Anderson hypes the 2012 Azera's "bluelink" technology via a pastiche of pop culture's most famous voice-responsive vehicles (there's a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-esque flying contraption, an underwater car straight out of The Spy Who Loved Me, and a take on Knight Rider's KITT) plus a heavy bit of personal touch (there's enough corny visual effects and obsessive symmetry to make your head explode). Bluelink doesn't actually allow your car to shoot through space, but it does let you make a dinner reservation by simply asking.
"Modern Life," which shows a mother delaying re-entry into the insanity of her home by relaxing in her luxurious Hyundai, is a bit less telltale Anderson but still uses enough of the auteur's signature camera movements, '70s-tinged art direction, and painstakingly controlled chaos to place it a step above your average car ad. While Anderson's Oscar-watching fans will see the spots as a clear wink to film buffs, they're not so esoteric that they won't hold up for months after the final award is handed out.
Titles: "Talk to My Car", "Modern Life"
Agency: Innocean Worldwide
Senior Producer: Helen Erb
Creative Directors: Robert Prins, Max Godsil
Art Director, 'Talk To My Car': Tom Gibson
Copywriter, 'Talk To My Car' : Steve O'Brien
Art Director, 'Modern Life': Frauke Tiemann
Copywriter, 'Modern Life': Kevin Samuels
Director: Wes Anderson
Production Company: Moxie Pictures
Executive Producers: Robert Fernandez, Lizzie Schwartz
Editor: Andrew Weisblum
Editorial Company: Beast, Los Angeles
Executive Producer: Jon Ettinger
Post Production Company: public VFX
Creative Director: Tony Smoller
Executive Producer: Kim Nagel
VFX Supervisor: James Allen
Flame Artist, 'Talk To My Car': James Allen, Katrina Salicrup
Flame Artist, 'Modern Life': Julie Jang, Max Harris