Military families know the meaning of sacrifice. Missed holidays and birthdays; missed recitals and youth ballgames; and they also know what it feels like to be separated during the biggest game of the year.
For a select few at deployed to Zagan, Poland, one automaker decided it was going to recognized those sacrifices and become a hero for the troops.
For Sgt. Richard Morrill, Spc. Erik Guerrero and Cpl. Trista Strauch of the 4th Infantry Division, Super Bowl 51 would be like no other. Not only would it go down as one of the best games in NFL history, it would be a venue for Hyundai to create a lifetime of family memories.
Using satellite technology, 360-degree immersive pods and the filmmaking direction of Peter Berg, Hyundai, an official sponsor of the NFL, filmed the game live and made real-time edits to what it refers to as a Super Bowl documentary as part of its campaign called ‘Operation Better.’
The soldiers were escorted away from the masses watching the game and placed into futuristic pods. Sitting in a chair from the middle of the pod, when the lights came on, the soldiers were virtually transported from Poland to Houston … and better yet … they were seated next to their families.
Footage from Houston and Poland was edited and produced in a production trailer outside the stadium during the game, according to a story published by Forbes.
The virtual reunion ties to Hyundai’s overarching goal of supporting the U.S. Armed Forces through its special discounts and incentive programs for military personnel.
“We wanted this year to be an homage to those who actually make the Super Bowl happen,” said Eric Springer, chief creative officer at Innocean Worldwide Americas, the company that helped create the 90-second commercial.
“It’s because of our troops that make it possible for a pastor to defend the right to worship. [A man or woman] has a right to take a knee in a game is because of the troops,” he said. “It gets to the soul of a car company that helps to make their lives better.”
“We are going to be the hero for the troops. This year, some of the best moments won’t happen on the field. This is how we’re going to do it. The better Super Bowl is going to happen in the hearts of the people who make it happen—the troops,” said Dean Evans, CMO at Hyundai Motor America.
Hyundai said the event is not about a political statement, it’s about paying respect to an underserved part of the population.
“Here’s the military, here’s an underserved part of the population that deserves more than ever before a nod to our appreciation of them,” Evans said.
“Being away is pretty rough,” Strauch said during the commercial. “I just worry about my son growing up and missing the daily things that he does.”
To ease her worry, Hyundai’s commercial ends, “Watching the Super Bowl is amazing. Watching it with the ones you love is better.”
Hyundai contends these virtual reunions were in the making long before the political season.
“That (the virtual reunion) was all coming together before the election results. And now, we’re even more secure in that patriotism and bringing people together around our military and what they do for us every day—whether you’re blue or red this cuts right up the center of bringing people together,” Evans said in the Forbes story.
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