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Kia’s Hamsters Strut the Red Carpet – with Help from Lady Gaga

Animated icons back for launch of 2014 Kia Soul.

by on Aug.23, 2013

They're back, this time in fighting shape.

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.

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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.


Kia Ready For Next Product Blitz

Smaller of Korean makers also studying possible 2nd US plant.

by on Sep.05, 2012

The 2014 Kia Forte will make its debut at the LA Auto Show in November.

The once very unhip Kia brand has undergone a massive makeover in recent years, thanks to a trio of hip-hop “hamstars,” a rock star of a design chief – and a blitz of new products.

The new model assault is set to continue, Kia officials reveal, at the upcoming Los Angeles and Detroit auto shows.  And to feed the growing demand for those and existing products like the Optima and Soul, Kia management is now studying the option of expanding its North American production base – a move that might include the addition of a second U.S. assembly plant.

Kia is now the fastest-growing brand in the U.S. market, noted Kia Motors America sales chief Tom Loveless, with a 78% sales surge since 2008 surpassing even Korean sibling Hyundai, as well as fast-track brands like Volkswagen and Subaru.

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After setting a 2011 sales record of 485,000 – and breaking its all-time monthly records for 24 consecutive months – Kia expects to reach another new peak this year, market share climbing to an all-time high 4.0, “if we can maintain this pace,” said Loveless, during a presentation to the Detroit Automotive Press Association.


Roll Over Beethoven, the Kia Hamsters Are Back

...and they're "Bringing Down the House."

by on Aug.31, 2012

Kia's hamsters make their return in classic form in the latest Soul ad campaign.

Roll over Beethoven, make room Mozart.  The Kia hamsters are back and they’re turning a serious, 17th Century ballet into a wild, 21st Century electronic dance party in their newest ad campaign for the popular Kia Soul.

Few official spokes…er…rodents have clicked with the car buying community as effectively as what the Korean carmaker likes to call its “hamstars.”  And their previous commercials have generated tens of millions of views on and elsewhere as they have gone viral like few other automotive ads.

The latest spot will make its debut today on 18,000 movie screens across the U.S. and then appear on the MTV Video Music Awards on September 6th. (You can view the spot on Youtube now by Clicking Here.)

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In typically irreverent fashion, the newest campaign has been titled “Bringing Down the House,” and is set in an 18th Century European opera house.  Set to the Axwell remix, “In My Mind,” it shakes up the staid surroundings by turning them into a very 21st Century electronic dance party.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Kia says, "G'day," at Australian Open.

by on Jan.28, 2011

How much is this image worth? Rafael Nidal delivers a slam for Australian Open sponsor Kia.

Let’s face it, advertisers love sports – perhaps none more than in the auto industry.

Last year’s FIFA World Cup was the biggest worldwide televised sports event in history, next in total number of viewers is expected to be next weeks Super Bowl XLV, with commercials costing from $2.8 to $3.0 million for each :30-second spot.

But here in the ‘land down under,’ Kia Motors has set an incredibly high benchmark for sponsorship of a single, important athletic event, the first of the four Grand Slam tennis majors, the Australian Open.  Kia is the major sponsor of the entire 14-day event for men and women.  Not just a single event at a Slam Event ala Mercedes, which last year took over sponsorship of the men’s singles at the U.S. Open, which was preceded by Lexus, which took over from Lincoln.

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In all due respect this is not an inexpensive sponsorship, but if getting the proverbial bang for the buck – aka ROI — is the measure of success then Kia, Korea’s oldest car manufacturer Is the winner in straight sets similar to how Kia’s brand ambassador, Rafel Nadal, got slammed on Wednesday night and Roger Federer did, too, a day later — both in straight sets.  The winner however is Kia: Game, Set and Match.