Blake Griffin is back behind the wheel for Kia Optima sedan, appearing for the fourth time for Kia. The effort is tied to Kia’s status as official automaker of the NBA, which the automaker has held since 2009, when it replaced Toyota in the position.
This time Griffin — who has appeared in Kia Optima ads going back to 2011, and always as himself — takes a different road: he's an action movie A-list actor in the campaign, via AOR Los Angeles-based David & Goliath. The conceit is that Griffin is a big-time actor, with each ad a behind-the-scenes look at a big-budget movie, each one set in different historical periods. And in each, he arrives in a mode of transportation — the Optima — inappropriate to the setting, much to the consternation of an apoplectic director.
In the launch spot, he's the sheriff in a cowboy movie, riding into town, and onto the set, to confront outlaws who have come to town to rape and pillage, presumably. Griffin rides in, but not on a horse. The director loses it.
After the cowboy video, there will be ads where Griffin is the lead in a film set in ancient Rome, and as a top gun on an aircraft carrier. In the later case, instead of landing on the carrier in a fighter jet, the only way to get onto an aircraft carrier, he arrives in an Optima.
The three 60- and 30-second spots will roll out sequentially on NBA media (TNT, ABC, ESPN, NBA TV) and social media. The first spot breaks online Dec. 22, and will break Christmas Day on TV. In addition to the spots, there is a virtual “staring contest” game with Blake Griffin will launch on the recently redesigned Tumblr page, blinkgriffin.com.
Said Tim Chaney, vice president of marketing communications at Irvine, Calif.-based Kia Motors America: “The Optima has been Kia’s most popular vehicle since the time when our partnership with Blake began, and he has helped us foster connections with basketball fans across the country, increase awareness and enhance our brand image.”
This fall Kia extended its official automotive status with the NBA on several fronts: it is now the official luxury vehicle of the league, which benefits the K900 sedan — plus official automotive partner of the WNBA and NBA D-League. As part of the deal, LeBron James is pitchman for the K900, starting with ads that broke late October.