IONIQ 5 N challenge helps drivers beat the winter blues


To launch Hyundai‘s all-electric, high-performance IONIQ 5 N, Hyundai Motor Europe and Innocean set a unique challenge for the car: beat the winter blues in one of Europe’s darkest cities.

IONIQ 5 N is not a traditional car; it’s an everyday sportscar with racetrack capabilities and features such as N Drift Optimizer and N Grin Boost, which allow for peak performance and driving pleasure at the touch of a button.

IONIQ 5 N campaign

So, instead of a traditional launch campaign, Hyundai teamed up with a neuroscientist to measure the physical and neurological changes that take place in a human when driving IONIQ 5 N, with the aim of testing whether the car has a positive effect.

The winter blues, also called seasonal affective disorder (S A D), affects more than 390 million people every year.

The conditions that contribute to S A D are heightened in Rjukan, Norway, which is one of Europe’s darkest cities – and its surrounding region immersed in darkness for nearly half the year.

Rjukan’s challenging conditions made it the perfect setting to see if driving IONIQ 5 N can beat the blues even in the depths of winter.

The scientific test, called “Experiment N”, took place on a frozen river across four days with 20 participants from Rjukan and surrounding regions. Each driver was screened for S A D, with those fitting the screening criteria being recruited as participants.

Hyundai enlisted neuroscientist Shani Tal and her team to develop the ‘DOJO’ metric, short for ‘Depth of Joy’.

This is a first-of-its kind method for measuring the physical and neurological changes before, during, and after driving. DOJO is a new concept that records the emotional impact of driving IONIQ 5 N.

Each participant’s DOJO was assessed by combining various technologies measuring a range of bodily metrics, including brain waves, skin responses, and heart rate variability along with a range of qualitative data metrics.

The results of the experiment were overwhelmingly positive. The drivers experienced an increase in DOJO by 28%, with an increase of the positive reactions ranging up to 67%.

In addition, 75% of the drivers experienced an overall improved positive emotional response. With this, IONIQ 5 N becomes the first car to beat the winter blues, even in one of Europe’s darkest cities.

The experiment is documented in a four-minute film, (above) also created by Innocean, which will run on Hyundai’s YouTube, Meta, and Instagram channels across Europe, including Germany, Norway, UK, France, and other key markets.

The launch was preceded by a teaser campaign released earlier this year on YouTube and on Hyundai’s social channels, in which lead neuroscientist Shani Tal outlines the experiment.

“The experiment shows a clear link between the depth of joy and IONIQ 5 N”, Andrea Razeto, Head of Brand Strategy & Campaign, Hyundai Motor Europe, said.

“Our objective was to extend our usual target audience, creating a halo effect by addressing a common and relatable pain point – the winter blues – with a unique solution. One that would demonstrate the unique capabilities of IONIQ 5 N”.

With Experiment N, Hyundai’s commitment to progress and innovation enters new frontiers: that of the human mind. The DOJO metric serves as a milestone for the brand in exploring emotional responses to driving.

Shani Tal, lead neuroscientist, said: “It’s often said that driving boosts joy. But for the first time, we’re putting this claim to the test. This is why we measure a whole range of different bodily metrics to test DOJO in these individuals”.

Gabriel Mattar, CCO, INNOCEAN Berlin, said: “Experiment N is a testament to the N brand’s motto of ‘Never Just Drive’.

“The car’s technology forms the core of this experiment. It’s what separates IONIQ 5 N from other brands in the same segment and takes the joy of driving to new levels”.