'Okay Hyundai'—How the automaker is leveraging a catchprase to win Black buyers

See the first ads from Hyundai’s first-ever African American agency

Published On
Oct 22, 2021

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“Okay Hyundai.” With that phrase, the automaker is kicking off a new attempt to win over Black consumers. 

The saying—which is used in a new campaign from Hyundai’s new African American agency, Culture Brands—leverages a popular expression in Black communities that in casual conversation is used as validation. Or as Hyundai and Culture Brands say in a description of the campaign, “See someone with a nice outfit on? Okay outfit! See someone driving a vehicle that elevates the entire market? Okay Hyundai!”

The campaign promotes Hyundai’s Tucson Plug-in Hybrid and the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid. One spot shows a Black family getting into a Santa Fe for a road trip. The dad promises the vehicle can go 400 miles without stopping, prompting the kids to get their bathroom break in before they leave. After he shares that fact, the mom sheds praise on the Santa Fe by saying, “Okay Hyundai.” 

Another ad features a group of Black women heading to a social outing in Tucson.



The campaign is set to run on TV, radio, as well as via digital, social media and influencer programming and branded content.

The work comes about five months after Hyundai Motor America hired Maryland-based Culture Brands as its first-ever African American agency of record. The shop was founded in 2017 by Eunique Jones Gibson, who gained notice in 2013 when she launched Because of Them We Can, which started as a 28-day photo campaign that showed young children dressed up as iconic Black history figures and has since evolved into a website that includes stories on Black culture and news. Jones Gibson is also behind the card game #CultureTags that made Ad Age’s 2021 list of America’s Hottest Brands.

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The new campaign uses consumer insights that were “honed through research and real-time polls leveraged through Because of Them We Can,” according to Hyundai.

“Okay is defined as a word that is used to express assent, agreement, or acceptance,” Jones Gibson, who serves as Culture Brands CEO and chief creative officer, said in a statement. “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.”

Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer at Hyundai Motor America, added that “what makes this campaign unique is its relatability which we feel broadens Hyundai’s voice in the marketplace.”

Hyundai stated that it “ensured people of color were in front of and behind the camera,” noting that it used  Brim & Brew, a Black-owned production company, on the campaign.