Kia Motors America, in its ongoing effort to shift from being seen as a low-cost "rational" brand to a more emotionally driven "fun" brand, has signed on with Univision. The partnership is around the beauty pageant reality show, "Nuestra Belleza Latina," of which Kia will be the official automotive partner.
In addition to a season-long, on-air brand integration with the show, there will be digital activations that include sponsored challenges for the show's contestants using various Kia vehicles, with the season winner getting the redesigned 2014 Forte compact sedan.
The company's integration includes segments in which contestants spend leisure time with a Kia vehicle. Digital activations include 11 custom pieces for Univision.com with the contestants, and a custom photo shoot of this season's winner with her Forte and social media promotion. The automaker tapped la Punto as Hispanic creative agency back in 2005.
Michael Sprague, EVP of marketing at Kia, tells Marketing Daily that the automaker's sales over the past three years have increased among Hispanics, who now make up 9.3% of all Kia purchases. "We are actively developing initiatives to increase Kia’s overall presence in the Hispanic community, including support and activations around high-profile soccer matches," he says.
The "Nuestra Belleza Latina" campaign is, per Sprague, the biggest product integration and promotional effort Kia has done with Univision, with which the automaker has had an ongoing advertising relationship. He says that in addition to Univision and sister networks UniMas, Galavision and Univision Deportes, Kia is working with Telemundo, MundoFOX, ESPN Deportes, MTVtr3s Latino and a number of others.
Kia -- whose advertising is lighthearted and offbeat, with hamsters and grown-up toys as starring characters -- has also moved to get the brand in front of younger auto fans who like to customize cars. The company last month signed a 10-month deal with DC Entertainment and buff book Super Street. The automaker, which has been showing off super-hero-themed cars for the last year or so, used the 2013 Chicago Auto Show to show a Superman-inspired Optima Hybrid. The partnership is to support DC's “We Can Be Heroes” charitable relief effort to fund efforts to ameliorate long-standing famine in the drought-wracked Horn of Africa.
The company unveiled a Batman version in New York last fall, a Green Lantern-themed Soul, Forte Coup done up as The Flash, a five-door version of the Forte with a Cyborg theme, and a Rio with an Aquaman theme at last year's SEMA show in Las Vegas. There will be an eighth vehicle meant to represent all seven in one.
Kia, which is launching a redesigned version of the Soul compact crossover this year also had a big reveal or two in Geneva last week: the Kia Provo Concept, intended to suggest where the automaker's design language is heading and a Euro market compact hatch for the adrenalin set called Pro_cee'd GT.