* “OKAY Hyundai,” a new campaign using black slang to target African-American consumers, launched last week, months after the automaker announced its first partnership with a black-owned marketing agency.
Hyundai Motor America Hired Maryland-Based Company Cultural brands in May to reach that market and “be more strategic, focused and authentic in the way we communicate with African American consumers,” said Erik Thomas, the automaker’s senior group director for experiential and multicultural marketing.
“… We seek to continue to connect with people on their own terms and in a relevant way. As we increase our share of voice with the African American market and communicate successfully, we expect sales growth to follow. “
The “OKAY Hyundai” social media, TV and radio ad campaign, which highlights the 2022 Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe plug-in hybrids, has references embedded in its message that Culture Brands considers part of its recipe for success.
“In the African American community, putting OKAY before something is the epitome of how things worth noting are recognized,” said Eunique Jones Gibson, Managing Director and Creative Director of Culture Brands. “Together [with Hyundai], it’s the perfect nod to Hyundai and our potential buyers. Do you see someone with a great outfit? Okay outfit. Do you see someone driving a vehicle that raises the whole market? OK, Hyundai.
Increase hybrid sales
Although Hyundai does not publicly break down sales data by audience, black consumers represent a tiny percentage of buyers of hybrid or plug-in vehicles, according to many analysts. Hyundai is trying to connect with a global African-American market that accounted for $ 835 billion in consumer spending in 2019, according to McKinsey and Co.
Some industry observers are applauding the “OKAY Hyundai” campaign and the hiring of a black marketing agency as a precursor to greater involvement of minority-owned creative agencies.
“When you look at the top seven brands for African Americans, which include Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Nissan, Ford, Kia and Hyundai, all but one currently have an African American agency of record,” said Marc Bland, director. diversity at IHS Markit, a London-based business intelligence company.
“With the automotive industry being a peer-driven industry, I expect to hear an announcement soon that all major African-American brands will align with partners of African-American marketing agencies. “
When Hyundai announced its partnership with Culture Brands in an effort to reach more black buyers, it said it was looking for an agency with expertise in “not only developing creative and marketing solutions for the target African American segment, but an agency that really knew about building culture.
Culture Brands evolved from a social media campaign launched by Gibson in 2012, following the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black boy who was killed in Florida earlier that year. A year later, during Black History Month, she launched the digital platform, Because of them, we can.
“It goes beyond a Black History Month campaign to encompass the past, present and future of black excellence, celebrating black culture and achievement 365 days a year,” said Gibson.
She said the digital platform is reaching “millions of people every month.”
Gibson, who started his career in online advertising at Microsoft and produced campaigns for brands such as Warner Bros., American Family Insurance, Nickelodeon and the Green Bay Packers, formed Culture Brands in 2017. She said that ‘Much of the content created for the “OKAY Hyundai Campaign” will be “amplified” using the platform Because of them, we can.
“Our team takes special care in the placement of brand messages to ensure credibility,” said Gibson. “With this new opportunity with Hyundai, [we] can host corporate, vehicle, and thematic content.
The auto industry, according to Thomas of Hyundai, is “in the midst of an evolution” as electric vehicles slowly gain more and more market share. Electric vehicle enthusiasts point out the low maintenance costs, the improved performance compared to gasoline vehicles, the low cost of charging a vehicle and the fast charging times. It is Culture Brands’ job to effectively communicate these key benefits to a black audience.
Electric vehicle sales “are expected to represent just under a quarter of the global market by 2025. Pure battery electric vehicles are estimated to account for around 7.4% of global car sales,” according to The data by Statista.
“The market share of conventional internal combustion engines is expected to decline to around 20% by 2050, while electric vehicles should represent for 8 out of 10 vehicle sales.
“We believe it is important to educate the entire market on aspects of this development and its likely impact on their car buying and owning experience,” Thomas said.
“… There are a few considerations that need to be in place, including charging stations in urban areas where many African Americans work, live and play; new solutions such as true wireless charging to adapt to African-American urban life where a private garage is often not an option; and education campaigns to help the African American consumer understand why electric vehicles are a good… and a safe choice for them.
Studies show, however, that the African American public is somewhat indifferent to the benefits of electric and / or hybrid vehicles and the dangers of climate change.
Citing data from IHS Markit on new vehicle registrations, Head of Diversity Bland said the African American community accounts for just 4% of all electric vehicle registrations in the United States.
In California, which accounts for half of all electric vehicles in the country, 3% of buyers of hybrid vehicles and 2% of buyers of plug-in electric vehicles were black, according to “New Routes to Equity: The Future of Transportation in the Black Community, a September 2020 report by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
Third Way, a public policy think tank, hosted a series of month-long focus groups in Detroit, Philadelphia and Greensboro, NC in February 2020 to better understand the views of these communities on climate change and clean energy.
“With the exception of a couple of participants in Detroit and Greensboro, climate change and the environment did not surface as a major issue among focus group participants in the three cities,” said the report which followed, titled “Black Americans Care About Climate Change (But It’s Complicated),” which was published in July 2020. “Health care, education, racism, school debt and crime were among the top priorities cited in the focus groups. “
The same segment of the population is disproportionately affected by climate change, according to the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund. This reports that African Americans are more likely to live in communities vulnerable to weather and flooding, experience more climate-induced heat waves, and suffer from serious health problems, especially asthma, exacerbated by pollution .
“Recognizing the environmental issues that are important to varying degrees for different potential new vehicles is a universal concern,” Gibson said. “At Culture Brands, we keep the pulse of culture alive through our media platforms and consumer brands. We use this information and learnings to create culturally relevant and affirmative campaigns and content.
“The various aspects of our business provide continuous access to African American culture. From this we derive ideas, and those ideas are shaped to support the branding strategies of our clients.
Edited by Judith Isacoff and Matthew B. Hall
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