When it comes to sponsorship, Hyundai Motor America takes a two-prong approach: Use national media-centric properties to build the Hyundai brand and local properties to let car buyers touch, feel and drive its vehicles.

On the brand front, the automaker recently struck a four-year deal to title college football’s Sun Bowl as part of its self-described “big voices in big places” ad strategy, which encompasses traditional and digital media buys around large events such as the NFL Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, as well as leveraging its South Korean parent Hyundai Motor Co.’s status as worldwide partner of FIFA and soccer’s World Cup.

Hyundai reportedly has plans to add a major golf property to that mix, with word it is negotiating title of the World Golf Championships stop in Miami, replacing IT management and enterprise software company CA, Inc., which opted not to renew after its contract expired this year.

On the local level, Hyundai uses a two-year-old partnership with the MLB Los Angeles Dodgers and ride-and-drive programs—including the just-launched Hyundai Sonata Uncensored Tour—to support national ad campaigns, promote its vehicles and gain leads for follow-up marketing.

IEG SR spoke with Monique Kumpis, Hyundai’s experiential marketing & strategic alliances manager, about the Hyundai Sun Bowl, the Dodgers and Sonata Uncensored. Below are edited excerpts from the conversation.

IEG SR: How does the Hyundai Sun Bowl sponsorship fit with your “big voices in big places” strategy?

Kumpis: We have used the strategy for several years to position our brand in high-profile advertising venues. It’s a North American strategy that includes the Super Bowl and exclusive auto status with the Academy Awards.

It’s primarily an advertising strategy, whereas the Sonata Uncensored Tour lives in the experiential, promotional world.

The Sun Bowl gives us another great platform to tell our story. It lets us tap into the dedication and passion of college sports fans. Those types of partnerships are a great way to reach our audience.

Sponsorship also gives us a platform to connect with consumers as we launch new products. We have a lot of new vehicles coming down the pike.

IEG SR: The experiential piece, particularly the test-drive platform—has been an important element of Hyundai marketing for the past couple of years. Has anything changed regarding that strategy or the tactics that support it?

Kumpis: As we’ve worked to elevate the brand, the way we communicate our message has changed. For example, the Sonata Uncensored Tour goes beyond just tents and cones to offer a real brand statement.

We see ourselves as a modern brand, and we target modern consumers. As such, we partnered with Dwell magazine on the tour. Dwell is an architecture and design magazine that helped create the Uncensored program.

Dwell speaks to the same consumer we are trying to reach. The Sonata target isn’t really a demographic profile, but more of a mindset. The target has a forward-thinking view of the world and is committed to making a difference and engaging with others, while still expressing a unique sense of self. They are socially responsible, expressive, aware and savvy.

The tour features components that appeal to the modern consumer, including the use of iPods, Foursquare—the location-based social networking app—and the opportunity for guests to upload their thoughts to a Facebook page. Those comments will be used in the national Sonata Uncensored ad campaign.

Dwell also brought in Starbucks and Izze juice, both of which receive a presence at the events.

IEG SR: When did the Uncensored Tour kick off, how many markets will it visit, and when will it conclude?

Kumpis: The tour kicked off in Chicago, and we’re taking it to ten locations, all of which are located in major markets.

We’re taking it to venues where we can set up a big footprint, such as the Autobahn Country Club outside of Chicago, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and FedEx Field outside of Washington, D.C. The tour will run through the middle of October.

IEG SR: Is Hyundai purchasing sponsorship packages at any of those venues, or just renting some temporary space?

Kumpis: There is no sponsorship component. We sponsored a mix of festivals and invitation-only events two years ago as part of the Discover Genesis Tour around the introduction of our Genesis sedan. We invited attendees at the festivals to come see us and experience our brand.

That kind of event was appropriate where we were with our brand then. But perceptions of our brand have shifted and people are more open to our message, so Uncensored is an invitation-only event. That type of event is working well for us now.

IEG SR: What’s the thinking behind Hyundai’s sponsorship of the Dodgers?

Kumpis: This is year two of our partnership with the Dodgers. This is another area where we can tap into the passion of our target consumer. People are passionate about baseball.

We leverage the partnership with a campaign that is respectful to fans, the team and other stakeholders. For example, the color of our on-site display is coordinated with the team’s colors. It’s not a big, glaring sign. It’s very respectful.

Our ad campaign around the sponsorship also is respectful of fans. It’s a “think about it” type of campaign, where we ask questions about baseball and the Dodgers, such as, “Why do we wait until the seventh inning to stretch?” We want people to think about why they spend so much money on a car: Are they buying a badge or a vehicle?

The campaign is a 360-degree program. It starts with signage and vehicle display on the stadium concourse and includes an online sweepstakes. It positions Hyundai as an active and passionate fan and demonstrates a genuine appreciation for baseball.