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Hyundai Appeals to Black Car Shoppers

Is Hyundai taking a page from a politicians’ playbook toward attracting a demographic? Discover how a new catchphrase in Hyundai marketing could raise profits and public consciousness.


Hyundai Motor America has teamed up with Culture Brands - an African American marketing agency---in the creation of a new catchphrase as part of their inaugural marketing campaign that promises to promote a new era of merging cultural relevance with Hyundai's latest car models.

Just this past week, Hyundai Motor America and the marketing agency Culture Brands announced a new ad campaign that celebrates the merging of African American Culture and Car Culture by introducing the catchphrase OKAY Hyundai.

According to the Hyundai Media Center:

We set out to make our marketing more inclusive and representative, and the result is working with Culture Brands to launch the OKAY Hyundai campaign to promote the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid and the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid in a culturally relevant way,” said Angela Zepeda, CMO, Hyundai Motor America.

What makes this campaign unique is its relatability which we feel broadens Hyundai’s voice in the marketplace.”

The catchphrase is imbued with cultural references and subtilties stemming from a cultural linguistic art form germane to the African American community where brevity speaks volumes. In the example of OKAY Hyundai, usage of OKAY carries meanings of being noticeable, of merit, of validation, and of praise.

As an example, Hyundai’s message is likened to “See someone driving a vehicle that elevates the entire market? OKAY Hyundai!”

OKAY is defined as a word that is used to express assent, agreement, or acceptance,” said Eunique Jones Gibson, CEO & Chief Creative Officer of Culture Brands. “In the African American community, placing OKAY before something is the quintessential way things worth noticing are acknowledged. Together, it’s the perfect nod to Hyundai and to our prospective buyers.”

As important as the cultural insights were to the creative, they were also used as a tool for the media placement,” added Erik Thomas, senior group manager, experiential & multicultural marketing, Hyundai Motor America. “We are reintroducing Hyundai to the community as a viable option for new vehicle prospects, while showcasing the PHEV quality, benefits and capabilities of these vehicles.”

Bringing diversity into Car Culture is a novel approach that achieves multiple aims. It will be interesting to follow Hyundai’s new marketing strategy progress and watch whether it will be replicated by other automakers who may also turn to external automotive-focused marketing businesses such as that are teamed with experts in the car industry to help change the image of a company and the minds of others in hopes of attracting new car-buying customers by focusing on diversity in both automobiles and in mankind.

Ads Demonstrating the OKAY Hyundai Message

Here are two recently posted YouTube videos created to further reinforce the message of what OKAY Hyundai is all about:

No Stops Necessary | 2022 SANTA FE Plug-in Hybrid EV | Hyundai

Hyundai Homecoming | 2022 TUCSON Plug-in Hybrid EV | Hyundai

For more news about the OKAY Hyundai marketing program, be sure to watch this site for future updates as they become available.

Timothy Boyer is Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily automotive-related news.