Hyundai’s Thomas: “A Bilingual Campaign Allows for Better Communication with Each Hispanic Acculturation Segment.”

Bilingual Marketing: Hyundai Motor America has developed and launched “The Miles that Unite Us”, its first bilingual creative campaign targeting both the Hispanic and general U.S. markets. Portada interviewed Erik Thomas, Director of Experiential Marketing at Hyundai, to understand the rationale for the campaign.

Bilingual Marketing
Erik Thomas, director of experiential marketing, Hyundai Motor America

The multicultural consumer is a key driving force of the automotive industry as the population in the U.S. continues to grow and becomes more affluent. “The multicultural buyer market share at Hyundai is growing and it’s significant enough not to ignore,” Erik Thomas, director of experiential marketing for Hyundai Motor America tells Portada. Furthermore, the U.S. Hispanic market is currently 19% of the U.S. population but represents over 24% of total industry growth. Hispanic purchasing power reached US $1.5 trillion in 2019 and is projected to reach US $2.5 trillion by 2025. “Reaching these consumers is critical for Hyundai’s continued success in today’s diverse marketplace,” Thomas asserts.

Thomas reports directly to Angela Zepeda, CMO of Hyundai Motor America. In his role, Thomas is responsible for leading experiential and sponsorship marketing for Hyundai with a focus on auto shows, corporate events, dealer meetings, sponsorship strategy, and implementation.  Thomas also leads Hyundai’s multicultural marketing focusing on Hyundai’s African American, Hispanic and Asian Markets.

The U.S. Hispanic market is currently 19% of the U.S. population but represents over 24% of total automotive industry growth.

Bilingual Marketing: Recognizing Cultural Heritage

Hyundai’s anthemic bilingual brand campaign, ‘The Miles that Unites Us’ was inclusive from the start and developed as a dual-language campaign for both the General and Hispanic markets. The campaign, aimed at both General Market and Hispanic audiences, consists of both English and Spanish:15, 30, and 60 TV commercials, 30 radio spots and streaming audio, and digital assets that will be shared nationally through the end of 2023.

Asked about why Hyundai chose a bilingual approach, as opposed to selecting a spot in English with cultural nuances for “The Miles that Unite Us” campaign, Thomas explains that “a bilingual campaign allows for better communication with each Hispanic acculturation segment.” He reasons “that many Latino individuals who are English-dominant still have a strong affinity towards their cultural heritage, and a bilingual campaign can appeal to that connection. It highlights that the campaign recognizes and values the cultural heritage of the Hispanic community, which can increase awareness, engagement, and purchase intent from the audience.”

Many Latino individuals who are English-dominant still have a strong affinity towards their cultural heritage, and a bilingual campaign can appeal to that connection.

Thomas notes that Hyundai’s human-centered campaign is grounded on the “It’s Your Journey” theme: “Reaching multicultural consumers is a core business imperative at Hyundai. Besides being the right thing to do, diversity increases the bottom line. We are excited to communicate with diverse audiences nationwide in culture and in language with a more strategic approach that makes us even more relatable.”

Bilingual Marketing: Important for Older Generations and Unacculturated Segments 

Bilingual Marketing

Thomas maintains that providing information in their primary language can be especially important for older generations or unacculturated segments. He adds that “providing information in Spanish can help ensure that the message is understood and received by the intended audience, which can increase the effectiveness and reach of the campaign.”

Hyundai’s new anthemic brand campaign reflects the brand’s intent to always place people first and connect with all its buyers, both English- and Spanish-dominant, to reach a broader audience and increase engagement and persuasion that leads to greater changes in attitudes and intentions. Additionally, bilingual marketing can help create a more inclusive environment, which can ultimately lead to better campaign results, Thomas claims.

Media: Broadcast and Bilingual Streaming Campaigns

At this time, Hyundai’s new bilingual anthemic brand campaign will focus on the general market and U.S. Hispanic market broadcast and digital streaming platforms. However, when Hyundai brings it brand to life and engages its customers and buyers they will feel the same sentiment during live and on-the-ground marketing events.

In 2021, Hyundai selected independent and minority- and female-owned Culture Brands as its African American marketing agency of record, and in August of 2022, Hyundai also selected independent, Hispanic-owned and operated, López Negrete Communications, based in Houston, Texas to provide strategic marketing solutions to reach and engage with diverse Latino audiences nationwide.

According to Thomas, Hyundai had a record-setting December sales month in Hyundai’s history with 72,058
units sold, a 40% increase compared with December 2021. Hyundai also had the best annual sales in its history in 2022.