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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

The Progress Project by Hyundai: Savannah, Georgia

Finalist in Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign, Local Campaign

Audience Honor in Racial Equality


Over two years ago, after the most widespread protests for racial justice in American history, Hyundai wanted to do more than just honor Black History Month during February. We wanted to make an ongoing impact and help affect change today.

We launched The Progress Project by Hyundai to celebrate Black History year-round and help ensure Black-owned businesses in the communities we call home continue to thrive. Like Montgomery, the home of Hyundai’s main U.S. manufacturing plant and first community where we activated The Progress Project by Hyundai in 2021. And Savannah, Georgia–the future site of Hyundai’s first dedicated electric vehicle plant in the U.S. and location we focused on for this year. We asked Hyundai Team Members and associates working in Savannah to nominate local Black-owned businesses that they felt were making an impact on the community. From there, we selected three final businesses to receive a grant of $15,000 each to put towards renovating and improving upon their businesses.

Our priority was two-fold: awareness of the people and companies highlighted through the Progress Project, and engagement with the content itself. This is why we intentionally linked out to the businesses’ websites and social channels, creating an introduction and spotlight to their individual journeys. Our goal was 200k views.

At the heart of Hyundai’s social channels is community. “It’s Your Journey" is our brand’s tagline, but it is also our mission to help others’ journeys along the way. The Progress Project was born out of our brand’s ethos.

Strategy and Execution

Hyundai is opening a new electric vehicle plant in Savannah, Georgia, and we learned the Black community makes up 54% of the city’s population. However, 30% of Black-owned businesses face incremental financial burdens and lack funding needed to continue to thrive.

Consumers can easily see through performative allyship and it can reflect negatively on a brand. 86% of people say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.

To tell this story, we filmed three docu-style video pieces highlighting each Black-owned business and their unique journeys. In the videos, we showcased the progress each business had made with the grant using before, during, and after footage of the renovation stages.

Starting in February, we posted the content across Hyundai-owned YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels. We also created unique TikTok videos for each candidate introducing them and revealing their transformations in a quick and entertaining style befitting of TikTok and Reels platforms. We invested in paid media to help extend the reach.

Community management incorporated relevant, niche hashtags such as #BlackOwnedBusiness, #BlackOwned, #ShopLocal, and #ShopSmall to target the local demographic over typical brand hashtags as part of our overarching social strategy. Once the videos were published, community managers jumped on engagement opportunities especially with the residents of Savannah—asking them for their feedback and asking them how these businesses have positively affected their local community. On Instagram, we tagged the location Savannah, Georgia, to increase visibility for the targeted area, and also created an Instagram Highlight where the content could live beyond just February.

For Hyundai, building a new plant in Savannah means investing in people, and the transformations experienced by the businesses proved how the ripple effect of this journey was able to impact the Savannah community at large.


Our goal, based on our typical engagement, was 200,000 views. We achieved 10x that benchmark, amassing over 2 million video views, reaching more than 1.9 million unique people, and generating 24,000 engagements. Our initial goals of both awareness and engagement were shattered with these numbers. Not to mention, the caliber of comments posted by our community proved the undeniable impact this creative had upon those it reached. People were supporting the businesses in the comments, applauding their progress, and sharing positive support for Hyundai, too. 

The campaign’s impact transcended social and was felt in Savannah–getting the attention of dozens of press outlets, making headlines in local news, and even sparking new business opportunities for the businesses involved. The businesses are now partnering up with each other and forging new bonds, helping to continue strengthening the community.


Video for The Progress Project by Hyundai: Savannah, Georgia

Entrant Company / Organization Name

INNOCEAN USA, Hyundai Motor America


Entry Credits