For the first time, Kia, which has taken a more humorous approach to advertising than its corporate sibling, Hyundai Motor America (currently heading up-market), is going to run a spot during the Super Bowl -- for the 2010 version of its Sorento SUV.
The ad, reaching for young parents who probably aren't quite ready to give up the raiment of youth for a minivan, has backseat passengers fantasizing about a joy ride in which they have control of the vehicle. Except that in this case the passengers are the little character toys -- stuffed animals, robots and the like -- owned by a child who keeps them in the back seat for company.
Their adventure -- decidedly adult -- starts in a bowling alley, where they make bowling pins explode from the force of their bowling and moves on to jet-skiing, riding a mechanical bull in a bar, sitting in a jacuzzi with a beautiful blond, going to Vegas and dancing with other girls.
The ad is set to a James Brown-like soundtrack by a group called "The Heavy."
The toys that become life-sized in their fantasies are real toys marketed with tours, shows, Web programs, etc. They include a Sock Monkey, which is made by Fox River Mills, Inc.; a Muno from the Yo Gabba Gabba series and tour; Mr. X, Robot and a teddy bear.
Meanwhile, one automaker that isn't new to this arena is promoting its new crossover, the Honda Accord Crosstour. The TV spot, to air in the third quarter, is the fourth to tout the vehicle with creative that centers on animation with angular, slightly retro-looking drawings.
The ad, set to Kool & the Gang's hit "Funky Stuff," features a squirrel trying to fit an assortment of large items. He opts for the Crosstour rather than his tree.
Honda will run the ad in an MSN home-page takeover this weekend and in a Fox Sports home-page roadblock on Sunday. And it will have pole position on YouTube's masthead on Monday, per the automaker's long-time agency of record, Santa Monica, Calif.-based RPA.
Honda is running the ads during network prime, sports and cable programming, including the championship game of the Bowl Championship Series on ABC, Super Bowl XLIV on CBS and the 2010 Winter Olympics on NBC. Print includes the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Men's Health, Time, Forbes and The Economist.
In-theater begins in February and outdoor will be featured in more than 20 key markets during the spring, per Honda.
The car is also making grassroots appearances at events like Ribfest Chicago 2010, Safeway National Capitol BBQ in Washington, D.C., and the 36th Annual Sun 'n' Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla.