LOS ANGELES — Kia is returning to the Super Bowl for its tenth consecutive year, Kia Motors America Chief Operating Officer Michael Cole tells Marketing Daily.
Cole declined to reveal creative details of the spot or which vehicle would be featured, but the automaker has several options with new vehicles launching next year.
“It’s exciting and it’s important,” he says. “We have a history of being there with good creative ideas. I’m sure we will impress people, and intrigue people, with what we do this year, as well.”
Kia is known for its over-the-top and sometimes quirky Super Bowl ads from David&Goliath. which in the past have featured Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler driving the all-new Stinger (2018); comedian/actress Melissa McCarthy as an eco-warrior in an ad spotlighting the Kia Niro (2017); and Christopher Walken introducing the Kia Optima (2016).
Possible vehicles for the Super Bowl spot on Feb. 3 include models the automaker unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show media preview today, including a dramatically restyled Kia Soul. In conjunction with that world debut, the all-electric, battery-powered Soul EV was also unveiled.
Cole calls the Soul the most “iconic” vehicle in the automaker’s lineup and the one that inspires the highest loyalty from Kia consumers.
“It’s the one we are known for,” says Cole, who is the central point of contact for all sales, marketing, service and corporate and product planning functions in the U.S. “Awareness of Soul is higher than the awareness of any other nameplate in our lineup. So this is a significant launch for us.”
The company sells over 100,000 Souls every year in the U.S., he notes.
"It attracts people looking at compact sedans, but it also attracts people looking at compact SUVs,” he says. “So it’s got a foot in both camps, really, which is one of its great strengths. It’s why we say it’s a ‘chameleon of a car.’ It can be all things to all people.”
Kia also unveiled an all-new 2019 Kia Niro EV crossover utility, which made its North American debut. When it goes on sale early next year, the Niro EV will be available in two trims, EX and EX Premium, which adds a host of upscale features to the already well-equipped EX.
Kia has historically been a strong performer at the Super Bowl, according to iSpot.tv. The Melissa McCarthy spot was one of the Super Bowl’s most engaging game day commercials, earning more than 3% of Digital Share of Voice. In 2016 the Christopher Walken spot came in 31st place by digital engagement on game day.
In 2015, Kia’s action movie parody "The Perfect Getaway,” with actor Pierce Brosnan, placed 29th, with 0.98% Digital Share of Voice, according to iSpot.tv. Kia’s Matrix-themed ad of 2014, "The Truth," placed 4th in iSpot.tv’s game day rankings, earning 7.13% Digital Share of Voice.
The David&Goliath agency appears to be well-equipped for another Super Bowl run. The agency recently hired three senior agency veterans to round out the agency's Kia creative team, including Mark Koelfgen, who is overseeing creative on Kia.
Koelfgen replaced executive creative director Gustavo Sakis, but with the dual title of ECD/copywriter. His career accolades at Ogilvy New York include writing the most-viewed IBM commercial ever (for the Oscars telecast) starring Carrie Fisher, as well as writing Ford's "Unstuck" Super Bowl commercial that was ranked #9 by USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter.