Kia Raises A Guinness For Optima Hybrid
Kia has launched a campaign for its Optima Hybrid car that spotlights the vehicle’s achievement of winning a Guinness World Record. The car got Guinness props last year for having achieved the lowest fuel consumption in a hybrid when a couple of pro drivers toured the 48 contiguous United States on 5½ tanks of gas. They went 7,899 miles at 64.55 miles per gallon by driving at optimal speeds and under optimal conditions.
The new campaign, targeted to Gen Xers and younger Baby Boomers, re-tells that story with two professional drivers randomly pulling over in the middle of a desert highway to chat with a man going cross-country on a pogo stick, who is also attempting to set a Guinness record. In the end, the drivers tell the pogo guy that they, too are in the process of setting a World Record and then take off into the sunset. Tag: "Not your average hybrid."
The campaign, via David&Goliath, Kia's long-time U.S. agency, also has print, direct-mail, collateral, and promotional elements. The digital component of the campaign, at Kia.com/Hybrid, allows consumers to delve into the Guinness World Record road trip and get info on how to optimize -- so to speak - their own hybrid driving.
The TV ad began airing on June 5 on network with cable, syndication on schedule. The spot will run on all the networks, plus around 30 cable channels, including Adult Swim, BET, Discovery, Comedy Central, Travel, E!, Oxygen, and Spike.
"When we first started launching about a year ago we did a very product-focused campaign,” says Michael Sprague, Kia Motor America VP marketing. “This lets us tell more of a story." He tells Marketing Daily that the company and its agency dreamed up the Guinness attempt as a way to talk about the car beyond merely advertising it. "We were trying to think of creative ways of telling consumers about our new hybrid and after lots of research we found there was opportunity to set that Guinness record. We looked at it and figured out that yeah, we could do that. We worked with the Guinness organization to make sure it could be validated by them and then set off to do it."
Sprague says the issue for the Optima Hybrid is actually not demand so much as capacity. "We are just finishing rolling it out across the country. We started on the West Coast, then the East Coast, followed by the southern markets in the spring and now the Midwest, and what we've learned is that availability -- the right color, or options -- is the reason people don't buy they vehicle. They want a certain package, but due to constraints, can't get it."
While no advertising might be the best advertising when supply is tight, Sprague argues that the Optima Hybrid campaign serves a broader purpose. "It promotes the product but also builds familiarity and awareness of us as a brand. Someone might not want to buy a hybrid, but they want to be associated with a brand that sells one, and is environmentally conscious." There’s something to that: Toyota's Prius has probably done more for Toyota branding equity than it has for Toyota sales volume.