Hyundai wants you to stop pronouncing its name like ‘Hy-un-dai’

The new campaign is a comedy of soundalike errors as people repeat the automaker’s anglicized name

Published On
Jan 05, 2023
Man looking at High 'n" Dye sign

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As an extension of Hyundai’s ongoing quest to get consumers to think of it as a leader in the electric vehicle market, the South Korean car brand is taking its perception-shifting one step further, today launching a new campaign in the United Kingdom that encourages people to embrace a different way of saying “Hyundai.”

Often pronounced as “Hy-un-dai” in the English-speaking world, the new work from Innocean UK—the London-based outpost of Hyundai’s longtime agency of record—aims to get the public to ditch any preconceived anglicisms and say the automaker’s name the “global” way, similar to its pronunciation in Korean: “Hyun-day.”


To do this, the company has rolled out a multi-channel marketing effort known as “New Dawn,” showing people using the voice-to-search function on their smartphones to look up Hyundai—or more specifically, its Ioniq EV lineup.

But after repeating the common English pronunciation, they’re led to a range of bizarre soundalikes: a hair salon called High ‘n’ Dye, a metallic statue titled “Iron Guy” and an optician’s office by the name of Highland Eye, just to name a few—all before being gently reminded that “It’s ‘Hyun-day,’ by the way.”

“Hyundai is a young, innovative and progressive brand which has transformed with great speed. We are proudly Korean with real character and purpose. 2023 is the perfect time for us to properly reflect this in the UK, with a wealth of exciting new product to be launched, including the incredible new Ioniq 6,” Ashley Andrew, Hyundai managing director of Hyundai Motor UK, said in a statement.

“With this campaign, we want to inject a little humor and personality to our brand, which we hope will encourage more people to learn more about Hyundai,” she continued.

The 30-second spot was directed by Jeroen Mol at Familia, a UK-based production studio. “New Dawn” is slated to be distributed on linear TV, radio, online and on-demand media channels.

While this new campaign may be the first to directly challenge consumers’ pronunciation of the Hyundai brand name, it is not the first for the Ioniq 5 electric SUV, which has received considerable media investment in recent years, particularly ahead of last summer’s debut of the Ioniq 6 electric sedan.

During last year’s NFL playoffs, actor Jason Bateman starred in an ad promoting the Ioniq 5 that positioned it as the most recent pivot in human evolution; the previous year, the vehicle was also the subject of a mock Hyundai Super Bowl commercial featuring “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson.

In 2020, Hyundai also collaborated with K-pop powerhouse BTS, whose members have been brand ambassadors for the company since 2018, to create a music video schooling people on the proper pronunciation of its then-new Ioniq model line.