Those hip-hopping hamsters are back for the launch of the 2014 Kia Soul – but this time, the portly, animated icons have buffed up with some help from Lady Gaga.
First seen in 2009 when they helped launch the original Soul, Kia has kept the “hamstars” in short supply, bringing them back to life only occasionally and generating plenty of buzz each time. The Korean carmaker hopes to pull that off again with the latest spot, dubbed “Totally Transformed,” which will make it debut during the MTV Video Music Awards aired this coming Sunday.
The 60-second spot will then appear on more than 33,000 U.S. movie screens starting on August 30th.
The animated Kia celebrities have been as portly as, well, hamsters in their previous appearances. This time, however, they shed their baggy, hip-hop outfits and extra bulk, working out to to the sounds of Grammy Award winner Lady Gaga’s new single, “Applause.” Fit and trim, they take a stroll down the red carpet but continue to show off their “excellent taste in music and slick dance moves,” says Michael Sprague, Kia’s U.S. marketing chief.
Of course, the real message is the cool factor of the new, second-generation Kia Soul, one of the most successful niche vehicles in recent years, thanks to its appeal to the young demographics targeted by the hamster campaign..
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“The Soul maintains its individualistic edge with a fresh take on its iconic design as well as a ‘Totally Transformed’ driving experience,” says Sprague, “and the hamsters have followed suit by getting fit and developing a new fashion sense that reflects the sophistication of the newly refined Soul.”
The latest Kia hamster spot was again produced by los Angeles-based ad agency David&Goliath and features some slick integration of animation and real-time footage.
(Click Here for a closer look at the 2014 Kia Soul.)
Along with the hamsters, the spot repeatedly cuts back to the development process for the new Soul which has undergone some significant changes for the 2014 model-year, with a larger interior and improved noise, vibration and harshness, or NVH, levels. It’s a risky period for Kia because competitors have often seen their own box-mobiles falter after undergoing major updates – the Scion xB a notable example.
But few characters, live or animated, have done a better job of building buzz for a new product. The earlier Kia hamster spots have been some of the most popular automotive ads in recent years, according to various metrics, and the 2011 spot, “Share Some Soul,” was the third most frequently viewed automotive campaign ever, according to YouTube, with 20 million views.
(Click Here for a first drive of the Kia Cadenza.)