Hyundai's Super Mobile Sunday1 Sep, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response
Eric d'Ablaing and Patricia Romero say the automaker's successful mobile DR campaign during Super Bowl XLII played an important role in seeding the $80 million marketing launch for the new Genesis sedan.
The Odd Couple?
Romero and d'Ablaing serve different functions on Hyundai's marketing and advertising teams — and they also have divergent professional backgrounds.
Romero, a native Southern Californian of Argentinean descent, joined Hyundai in September 2007 to head up the company's Hispanic marketing department. "From there, my role increased to handle digital marketing, as well as general marketing and advertising," she contends.
Romero's bio prior to joining HMA reads like a "who's who" of corporate marketing. "I started my career at Honda, handling international marketing," she says. "I was responsible for Latin American marketing."
She then moved into the technology sector, joining Toshiba, handling "general market, U.S. Hispanic and international marketing," before jumping back into the automotive space at Chrysler, where, she contends, she enjoyed her greatest career success (see sidebar).
Patricia Romero : Eric d Ablaing
"I was the head of California marketing for Chrysler," she says. "I worked on restructuring and rebranding the three Chrysler brands — Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge — in California. The goal was to lift market share and change the brand image."
On the other hand, d'Ablaing is a Hyundai mainstay, joining the company as a cost analyst in 1994, only about two years after graduating from the University of Southern California. After working his way up to senior financial analyst, the company assisted him in gaining his MBA. At about the same time, he transitioned from the finance side of the business in late 2002 into the marketing area. "I worked on a number of the sports marketing programs," he says.
Within a year, d'Ablaing was asked by the director of marketing to move to the company's digital marketing department. "At that time, we were responsible for the redesign of hyundaiusa.com," he says. "Now, we have deployed about 18 different sites."
The divergent backgrounds of Romero and d'Ablaing have come together with Hyundai's somewhat star-crossed history in the United States. When HMA brought the Excel subcompact to America in 1986, the automaker's brand found itself ghettoized for the better part of a decade. However, since the mid-1990s, Hyundai's growth — both in sales and image, thanks to a top-notch customer service reputation — has remade the brand's image.