Cannes Lions

Hyundai Audio Branding

WHY DO BIRDS, Berlin / HYUNDAI / 2017

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The Hyundai brand essence of “Modern Premium” is communicated through its creative expression, “Richness in Simplicity”. Hyundai is all about the simple things in life – the things that truly matter. Based on this strategy the sound attributes “essential”, “refined” and “confident” were defined as the audio branding pillars. The new Hyundai communication is reduced, never loud nor aggressive.

Translating the attributes essential, refined and confident was the starting point for the process. The sound tonality is harmonious, smooth and fluid. The performance is minimalist, yet the details are self-assured and lively.

The subsequent, concise musical theme is a simple, ascending six-tone sequence that forms the basis of the Hyundai sound and determines the sonic logo. It flows dynamically and ends on an open tone, which points the way into the future. It is flexible in its speed and instrumentation and allows a wide range of musical interpretations.


The ascending six-tone sequence of the sonic logo is solely performed by a uniquely sound-designed Piano and supported by a very soft spherical grounding. The fast-paced flow of the melody feels easy but also underlines the dynamic in the company’s vision.

Next to the leitmotif of the sonic logo, the sound DNA is neatly integrated for all the brand’s applications like product-unveiling music, “going-on-stage” jingles, subtle dealership soundscapes and warm in-car sounds.

The related brand music elevates Hyundai towards a more emotional and impactful brand. A music library with numerous brand music pieces in different genres is available for usage in all markets. Subtle 9-hour soundscapes fill the car dealerships with a pleasing, brand-fitting atmosphere. Telephone on-hold lines have been reduced to purely piano-based Hyundai music, making it more pleasant for the expectant caller. In-car sounds greet the driver when starting the car and say good-bye when turning it off.


Hyundai audio branding translates the brand strategy into a consistent brand experience. For the first time, explicit guidelines support marketing departments and agencies in implementing the new sound, ensuring consistency globally while reducing costs to create new music. Hyundai audio branding has been expanded and adapted to fit “IONIQ” and “N” product lines, which are being implemented.

A close collaboration with the R&D team allowed an alignment between marketing and product, creating in-car “welcome” and “good-bye” sounds derived from the sonic logo, launched in vehicles starting 2016.

The Hyundai sound underscores all Hyundai events, such as motor shows and conferences (Paris Motor Show 2016, International Electric Vehicle Expo 2017). With films grounded in the new Hyundai sound and Korean showrooms filled with the subtle soundscape since 2017 as well, the new audio branding has built a strong, consistent 360° Hyundai brand experience reaching thousands of customers across multiple touchpoints.

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