Back in my college days, I was a marketing major. I took class after class on things like corporate identity, brand voice, and how to properly consider your target demographic in all forms of company communication. Out of all the various lessons I learned in those years, one big one has always stuck with me: “If possible, try to avoid injecting your brand into a nearly century-long geopolitical dispute.” Hyundai, it seems, missed that day in school.
Every year on February 5th, Pakistan celebrates “Kashmir Solidarity Day” “to express Pakistan’s support for the just struggle of the Kashmiri people for their inalienable right to self-determination as envisaged in the UNSC Resolutions and in accordance with wishes of the Kashmiri people.”
This past Saturday, February 6th, a series of social media accounts seemingly belonging to Hyundai’s Pakistani wing made posts celebrating the holiday. In doing so, the accounts drew the ire of thousands of Indian social media users, with many going so far as to suggest a national boycott of the automaker.
The posts came from unverified accounts claiming to be Hyundai Pakistan, but the response from the company’s Indian wing seems to neither confirm nor deny their authenticity. The statement calls the social posts “unsolicited” but doesn’t specify whether they were the actions of rogue employees or entirely fictitious accounts.
@PakistanHyundai, the Twitter account in question, has been locked down since the tweet. The account does, however, appear to have posted 237 tweets in its lifetime — likely more than enough for Hyundai to notice if an impostor account had been set up. While it certainly seems like the accounts could be real, it’s unclear how posts unsanctioned by the company made it through review — or if such a process exists at all.
Rather than staying out all together, Hyundai has now taken multiple stances on the conflict. Maybe they should’ve attended class a bit more often.