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Takata Airbag Recall Multicultural Outreach
and Media Campaign

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Project: NHTSA Takata Airbag Recall 

Check your Vehicle | CHEQUEE SU VEHICULO Education Campaign

Client Company: BMW USA and NISSAN North America

Department: Recalls and Safety Campaigns Communications Department

Dates of project: 2018- 2020

Type of Project: Multicultural and Multilingual Advertising, Marketing and Outreach Campaign

Campaign Animated Video in English (90 seconds)

The challenge:

Automotive manufacturers in the US had millions of vehicles affected by the NHTSA Takata Airbag and Defective Inflator Recall. To date in the United States, the defective airbags have caused 24 deaths and hundreds of explosions launching metal shrapnel into the faces and bodies of drivers and passengers causing severe injuries.

Complicating Factors and Solutions:

The “business-as-usual” approach taken by several automakers had failed to reach a large portion of car owners. According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the majority of the unrepaired vehicles were located in hot climates that posed increased chances for the airbags exploding.

CST conducted extensive demographic data research to better understand the target audiences. Data indicated that the most at-risk communities were culturally and linguistically diverse from Southern California, Arizona, Texas, and Southern Florida including Puerto Rico.


There was little to no relationship and low trust between the current owner of the recalled vehicle and the dealership service center where the repair was to take place. The recalled vehicles were older and likely purchased as used vehicles.

CST created events appropriate for each market, collaborating with chambers of commerce and hosting family days at dealerships in partnership with local in-language radio stations.


The original translation of “recall” into Spanish stated that the airbags had been recalled from the market. Efforts to date using this translation did not create any sense of urgency with the owner.

CST created the multilingual Chequee Su Vehiculo /Check Your Vehicle campaign featuring the Segura family to build awareness about the dangers of exploding airbags and the need for replacement and repairs.

Culture Shift Team Approach:

Culture Shift Team worked with the client's recall communications department to craft and execute a multi-city, multilingual and culturally appropriate marketing, awareness, and education campaign.


The dual purpose of the campaign was (1) to broadly educate all vehicle owners about the Takata Airbag Recall and importance of checking if their vehicle was included in the recall, and (2) to encourage owners of recalled vehicles to take their vehicle to a local authorized dealer for the replacement. 

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Target Audience Profile

  • CST developed campaign messaging in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Haitian Creole with a focus on Hispanic communities in Dallas, Houston, South Florida, and Puerto Rico.

Design and Production

  • Direct mail full-size postcards

  • Video production for Familia Segura with voice over localized for Texas, South Florida and Puerto Rico, Barbara Palacios, and OTT ad placement

  • Radio spot production localized for Texas, South Florida and Puerto Rico audiences

  • Website development

  • Social media pages on Facebook and Instagram

  • Toolkits and assets for local influencers to use in their social media posts

Public Relations

  • Media Interviews and Media relations

  • Gained earned media public service announcement on Telemundo

  • Bilingual recall navigation call center and response center to rapidly respond to public inquiries

  • PR Toolkit for partner organizations to educate members and community

  • Developed reports for NHTSA

Social Media 

  • Social media accounts created and managed

  • Targeted media buy on Instagram and Facebook

Media Buy

  • Movie theater

  • Radio

  • Digital

  • OTT 

  • Out-of-home

Community Engagement & Education

  • Community outreach to community organizations

  • Dealership based events and activations

  • Sponsorships with local community organizations and chambers of commerce

  • Local community events at churches, libraries and community centers

  • Local outreach teams checked vehicles for recalls

  • Remote location airbag repair days with partner organizations to reach outlying areas

Influencers were also identified at the local, regional and national level. In addition to the animated family, CST engaged influencer and former Miss Universe Barbara Palacios. CST used its unique approach to deep multicultural analysis to craft a multi-faceted and holistic campaign to communicate the urgency of the airbag recall.


Barbara Palacios Spokesperson for the Takata Airbag Recall
Chequee Su Vehiculo Campaign in Spanish
  • Replacement of 15,302 airbags in a period of 18 months in Puerto Rico, South Florida, Dallas, and Houston, TX.  

  • Reached goal of 40% remediation for targeted regions.

  • 145 Events across the four target markets from June 2019 to March 2020.

  • Over 2k calls to CST’s bilingual call center: 96% of the calls were in Spanish, and from Puerto Rico.

  • 152K website page views

  • 52K website page visitors

  • 22,684 VINs checked

  • Online Advertising: 1,037,994 impressions 

  • 10 TV Interviews: Dallas and Puerto Rico

  • 53 Radio Interviews in Puerto Rico, South Florida and Houston

  • 14 Facebook Live Interviews in Puerto Rico, Miami and Houston

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