Can Kia transcend beyond its price-point marketing?
Arguably—and even with no new cars to present—Kia’s presser at last week’s L.A. show was the best in a long day’s worth of corporate droning on.
For starters, Kia promised 15 salient points in a media-friendly 15 minutes, getting us all up-to-date on the tsunami of new models, the progress of its recently-opened U.S. plant, various awards its Optima sedan is picking up this year, that a pair of Optima SX models are entering the U.S. World Challenge race series next year to take on Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro in addition to the new Rio 5-Door B-Spec racer will be made available to teams to compete in a variety of series, from World Challenge to GRAND-AM to SCCA and NASA events, plus more—whew!
Then, they trotted out locked-out National Basketball Association star Blake Griffin, about the only player worth watching on the sometimes-unwatchable Los Angeles Clippers team, who became famous for winning the 2011 N.B.A. all-star game dunking contest by jumping over an Optima, above.
Griffin then watched himself in a series of new Kia TV ads, projected on the stand’s giant screens.
Up until now, you’re probably saying So what?
But watch the ads, top and below.
Instead of barking out zero-per cent financing or five-year warranties, the Griffin/Kia ads are subtly funny. And the baller’s performance is surprisingly quirky and confident. (You’ll find his thigh lunges while he feeds a deer, in the spot below, either creepy or hilarious.)
But the point is this: Kia—once the quaint automaker that sold on bottom-feeder pricing and the ability to stretch your monthly payments to five years because of their class-leading warranty—is getting some attitude.
But have you, the new car buyer, caught up with Kia’s confidence?
Or do you think the brand still needs to sell cars based on price alone?