Kia makes the connection to life’s little surprises

The automaker's new campaign aims to bring the "joyfulness" associated with its cars to life in a more emotional way.

Kia is taking a different approach in a new brand campaign that highlights the brand’s youthful, exciting essence.

The theme of the “Long Live Surprise” campaign is the element of “surprise.” Marketing director Michael Kopke tells strategy the differentiating factor with this campaign, compared to past ones, is that it’s an opportunity to talk more about the “essence” of Kia – who it is and how it integrates into a customer’s life.

“We’re not just transportation, but we enable [customers’] lives,” Kopke says. “The way we design our product and go to market with them, we really try to lean into this idea of fulfilling little surprises in everybody’s life.” Kopke highlights Kia features such as Apple Car-Play, Android Auto, safety technology and the overall design of the cars as things that have contributed to this perception in the past, though this campaign is less focused on features and benefits.

“The message really is more on the emotional brand side of things to help us, help everyone, understand who we are,” he says.

In the lead campaign spot, a woman in her Kia puts on make-up, looking like she is getting ready for a date or job interview (something Kopke says is left up to the imagination of the customer) and the look of confidence she has that she is going to do well. But it also includes moments like mother is dancing around to a song she likes taking a moment to herself.

“The reality that she’s a mom, she’s got a busy life, but she’s got this quiet moment in her car and her favourite music is going…just beat-bopping to the music,” Kopke says. “It’s another one of these little surprises. We’ve leaned into this – literally the idea of surprise, celebrating these beautiful moments that we all have everyday, all tied to the car.”

Kopke says the element of surprise ties into the cheerfulness and excitement associated with the automaker’s vehicles. “I think it plays into being a youthful brand in terms of mentality,” he says. However, Kia is “youthful” by other car company standards. Last year, the brand celebrated its 20 year anniversary in Canada, and sold its one millionth vehicle in 2019.

Kia worked with Innocean Worldwide Canada to develop this multimedia campaign, which is targeted at high-profile, event viewing. After debuting during the Grammy Awards earlier this month, it will air during the Super Bowl on Sunday and at the Academy Awards on Feb. 9.