Hyundai will increase minority ads

NEW YORK - Hyundai Motor America next year will devote 15 percent of its marketing budget to reach minorities, with an emphasis on Hispanics and blacks. The 2002 diversity spending of $21 million will be up from about $12.6 million this year.

The automaker hopes to reach consumers who haven't considered Hyundai in the past. About 5 percent of Hyundai buyers are Hispanic, and about 7 percent are black.

"There is an effort in Spanish language," said Mike Robertson, vice chairman and executive creative director of Bates USA West, Hyundai's general advertising agency. In the past two years, the automaker has used Dieste & Partners in Dallas for Hispanic advertising.

Hyundai also is using more black actors in upcoming national ads. "We're trying to create an accurate reflection of the people who are buying Hyundais," Robertson said.

In addition, the automaker increasingly will try to reach Hispanics and blacks through sponsorships of concerts and festivals and through direct mail.

Bates tapped black agency Carol H. Williams Advertising in Oakland, Calif., for input on Hyundai's 2002 model year advertising. The automaker likely will conduct a review soon to sign on its first black ad agency of record.

"It's something we may be doing in the coming months," said David Weber, Hyundai's vice president of marketing.

Meanwhile, the automaker is six weeks into its mainstream advertising for the 2002 model year.

"What we want to try to do is continue to build momentum and not do anything drastic or radical to our overall marketing strategy," Weber said.

So for now the company continues its 4-year-old "Driving is believing" campaign, touting its 10-year warranty with a voiceover by Peri Gilpin, who plays Roz Doyle on "Frasier."

Said John Upton, executive vice president of Bates USA West in Irvine, Calif.: "We may ease out of that (tag line) at some point, but for now it still resonates with the consumer."

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