Kia Back At Vans Warped Tour
Kia is back for year five as "Official Vehicle of the 2012 Vans Warped Tour." The automaker first used the tour five years ago as a way to tease the U.S. market with the concept version of the Soul vehicle before the on-sale date in 2009.
Kia will bring Soul and the newly redesigned Rio -- Kia's smallest car -- to the 40 cities where the tour stops. This time around, Kia will also be official sponsor of the tour's two main stages, which will be called the Kia Soul Stage and Kia Rio Stage. The stages will physically bookend an airborne rigging display showing the Soul.
Over the years, the division of Hyundai Motor has shifted toward a definite Millennial positioning -- especially with the debut of the Soul three years ago, Kia's answer to the protean urban-centric cars from Scion, intended to be hip and multi-utilitarian. While Soul ad creative (DavidAndGoliath in Santa Monica, Calif. has handled the brand for over 10 years) features the anthropomorphic hamsters as hipsters, the company has applied that kind of rakish quality to other more traditional cars like the 2013 Optima. That car was supported with a Super Bowl commercial featuring a mash-up of supermodel, UFC fighter, and Mötley Crüe playing "Kickstart My Heart."
Said Michael Sprague, VP of marketing: "Going back out on the road again with the Vans Warped Tour was an obvious fit as a way to maintain our status as a young, current and engaging brand."
Kia says it will also have its Soul Lounge on site at tour stops. The exhibition has things like a music station where people can mix and customize beats, get personalized bandanas, and vie for VIP passes for access to a private riser near the main stage or on the two main stages. As in previous years, Kia will have a "Warped Tour" blogger, Steve Guttbinder, who will writing about the shows and field questions and upload photo and video content.
"Kia is an innovative company that understands the culture of Warped, and their support allows us to bring back two main stages for the 2012 tour," said Kevin Lyman, Vans Warped Tour founder and producer.
Vans Warped eschews the temptation to be über-branded, and relies instead of a roster of over 70 smaller sponsorships, particularly from not-for-profit organizations. In addition to Vans, the other top-tier sponsor with Kia is Monster Energy. Trojan, the Truth Campaign, the Air Force Reserve and many niche and endemic brands in music and fashion tend to fill out the rest.
The music and extreme-sports tour, which Vans (which makes skateboarding shoes) has sponsored since the mid-1990s, kicks off this weekend in Salt Lake City, and all told will comprise 90 punk, rock, hip-hop, rap, metal, indie rock and electronic artists. Markets include Las Vegas, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, Portland, Detroit's suburbs, and Milwaukee.