Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hangin' with da (L)G's

Amid the talk about Korean hip-hop and the image of Hyundai cars recently on the Korean blogs, it may be worthwhile to mention a study on the use of Brands in Hip-hop lyrics in '05 compiled by the research firm Agenda Inc. The firm totals up the mentions of brands in lyrics, does some analysis, and issues it as a report called "American Brandstand". More of a marketing gimmick for the firm, but a good one. The reason I was reminded of it was the rankings of brands mentioned:

1. Mercedes
2. Nike
3. Cadillac
4. Bentley
5. Rolls-Royce
16. Datsun
16. Geico
16. Hyundai
16. Jell-o
16. Porche
16. Tyco

What is interesting is Hyundai made it to the charts after not being mentioned in '04 or '03. No other Korean brand made it. If it is any consolation neither did "cool brand" competitors such as Motorola, Nokia, Sony, or Apple Computer.

The study says Hyundai had 17 mentions, yet only cites one song, Gold Digger, by Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx. The lyric goes:

I know somebody payin child support for one of his kids 
His baby momma's car's crib is bigger than his 
You will see him on TV Any Given Sunday 
Win the Superbowl and drive off in a Hyundai

Showing off a Hyundai is something small and cheap is not exactly a positive for a company trying to reinvent its brand. Even worse for Hyundai, this lyric topped both the Pop and R&B charts for a number of weeks in the US and was ranked as the sixth most popular single in 2005 by Billboard. I am also sure the single proved popular in Europe where Hyundai is trying market to young people.

This last one is a kicker. With Hip-hop defining youth culture in the US, if not globally, lyrics like this get into minds early and are entrenched by adulthood when they make choices on things like cars.

As I said before, I am sure Hyundai is working to overcome its problems, but lets not pop champagne corks and say "mission accomplished" just yet because some people on MSN write something nice. Hyundai's brand problems run deep.


At January 06, 2006 6:11 AM, Anonymous Brian said...

At least they pronounced it right... rhymes with "Sunday."


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