20 Jan 23
News

Hyundai - are you saying it properly?

Hyundai - are you saying it properly?

What Hyundai is teaching us about marketing in the digital age. 

It’s the dawn of a new era at Hyundai UK in which the brand is updating the pronunciation of its name and teaching the English how to say it properly. Well, why not? In a country with over 40 different regional accents and dialects, pronunciation matters - or does it?

In a world in which so much is having a negative impact on people’s lives (and our industry), why not create a distraction and focus on something that may seem trivial but is perhaps more important than we think in an age dominated by social influence. 

Say it the way your virtual assistant was trained to hear it

See, how you pronounce a word really doesn’t matter unless you’re consulting with a virtual assistant, which many people do when trying to find their way around urban areas. Then it matters. How you pronounce Hy-un-dai in the UK, for example, could have you directed to Highland Eye, a premier eyewear boutique, or High End Pie, a street vendor selling tasty treats in pastry or High n’ Dye, a retro hair salon - none of which is a car showroom. 

All of these (and more - oh yes, there’s more) have been created by Hyundai UK for a tongue in cheek multi-channel advert and collaboration with Anglophile Korean Billy as he adapts to UK living and pronunciation. 

In all seriousness, this isn’t about accents and pronunciation, it’s about marketing. In the digital age, storytelling, getting people talking  and leveraging social influence are critical if you want to cut through the noise and get attention. Hyundai is using that strategy to secure exposure and get people talking about the brand. It may seem ridiculous, trivial, counter-intuitive even but we’ve seen these strategies work time and again. 

The fact that you’re reading this says it got your attention

In this case, Hyundai conducted a survey of 2,000 UK adults and found that nearly three quarters (73%) say they have a good grasp of the English language, but nearly half (47%) study the correct pronunciation online via a search engine to check that they’ve got it right. For an Asian brand in the UK, that’s something to hang your marketing hat on. 

It’s prompted Hyundai to change from the anglicised pronunciation to a global pronunciation: a change that marks a new era for the company in the UK, with a tongue in cheek multi-channel advert and collaboration with Anglophile Korean Billy as he adapts to UK living and pronunciation. The research reveals the top 25 most mispronounced words, with parliament, tenterhooks, quinoa and cache making the list.

Ashley Andrew, Managing Director, Hyundai Motor UK, said: “Having updated our brand’s image and pronunciation locally, we wanted to explore pronunciation as a topic more broadly and get people talking about those words that we can potentially struggle with in everyday life, such as quinoa and espresso.

Well, it caught our attention. Time will tell if it catches anyone else’s. Oh and it’s Hyun-day, bye the way. 

Image: Hyundai UK

Authored by: Alison Pittaway