Kia Spectra launch ‘disarms’ consumers with manic baboons

Everyone knows a guy who will spend hours washing, wiping and waxing his car on Sunday afternoons, the type who freaks out if he finds one little scratch marring his prized possession's shiny red surface. Mississauga, Ont.-based Kia is poking fun at the irrational relationship between man and car in its first ad for its Spectra model, which has been redesigned from the engine out for 2005.

Everyone knows a guy who will spend hours washing, wiping and waxing his car on Sunday afternoons, the type who freaks out if he finds one little scratch marring his prized possession’s shiny red surface. Mississauga, Ont.-based Kia is poking fun at the irrational relationship between man and car in its first ad for its Spectra model, which has been redesigned from the engine out for 2005.

The commercial, by Kia’s Toronto-based AOR, Publicis, is set at a drive-through safari-type amusement park – one where animals roam free. The first scene shows a car being attacked by baboons. Then a second set of wheels comes into the frame, and the apes are really tearing it apart. The expectation is that there will be a third car in even worse distress, but instead a man walks by. Trailing behind him are his family members who are, of course, desperately fighting off the manic beasts while dad remains oblivious.

The camera then pans to his vehicle, and the voice-over says ‘The Kia Spectra. It’s okay to love one this much.’

‘It’s an exaggeration, but it’s also a commentary on the relationship people have with their cars,’ Publicis CD Pat Pirisi says of the man who sacrifices his clan to spare his Kia. ‘The promise is that they will have a great relationship with this vehicle. They will fall in love with it so to speak.’

Kia’s marketing manager, Ross Cunningham, adds that the new campaign was specifically timed for the spring, as April and May are peak times for auto sales, with an ultimate goal of creating ‘name-plate awareness.’ The ads also coincide with the launch of a new lifetime oil and filter change service for Kia owners, which is estimated to save the average buyer $500 to $600.

The four-door Spectra is geared at families with a household income of approximately $50,000. ‘It’s typically a young family that is purchasing their first new vehicle,’ explains brand director Tony Ciccia. ‘The goal of the ad is to get Spectra on the consideration list. Kia’s budgets are less robust than other manufacturers, so we have to do more memorable advertising that drives dealer traffic.’

To that end, the ad plays into Kia’s overall goal to ‘carve out a unique and friendly voice [in the marketplace],’ says Pirisi. ‘We bring levity to the execution, which disarms potential customers and makes them feel good about Kia.’

Beginning April 5, the ad will run nationally on popular programs like Hockey Night in Canada. Cunningham adds that Kia will burn through about 38% of its annual media spend this quarter, and the new Spectra launch will consume 40% to 50% of that.

Client: KIA Canada

Agency: Publicis

Creative Directors: Duncan Bruce, Pat Pirisi

Copywriter: Pat Pirisi

Art Director: Duncan Bruce

Producer: Angela Carroll

Director: Nick Piper

Brand Director: Tony Ciccia

Account Director: Brett McIntosh

Production Company: Produce Films

Executive Producer: Madelaine Atkins

Editing Facility: Third Floor Editing

Editor: Richard Unruh

Sound Company: David Fleury Music

Music Composer: David Fleury

Client Contact: Ross Cunningham, marketing manager