Kia is trying to change perceptions of minivans

A campaign promotes the new Carnival as a solution for everything from getting the kids to school to mountain biking.

Kia is trying to get Canadian families to break their SUV habit by showing its new minivan is both a smart and stylish choice for more than getting the kids to soccer practice.

The new campaign from Innocean positions the 2022 Carnival as a “life utility vehicle” – essentially, the pragmatic solution for people who follow any lifestyle.

“We anchored ourselves in the reality that, no matter your life stage, this is the perfect vehicle from a pragmatic point of view,” explains Michael Kopke, Kia Canada’s director of marketing.

The Carnival is Kia’s entry into the minivan category – a segment that has “a very loyal following,” but is stereotypically associated with soccer moms, he says. The new campaign aims to challenge that perception by showing Carnival can adapt to every need, be it taking kids to school or going on a mountain-biking trip.

For the better part of the last decade, SUVs and crossovers have been the biggest driver of Canadian new car sales, largely among those who need a spacious vehicle to serve the needs of their family. The new campaign speaks to that functional need, but goes beyond utility to showcase style and connect to more diverse passion points to address why minivans have been losing ground.

“We didn’t want to just be sensible and tell people to buy this because it makes sense,” says Kopke. “The fact that it makes sense is already in the consumer’s mindset. They know a minivan is the solution. We wanted to leverage how good-looking the vehicle is, its functionality and the technology in it, to give people a sense of pride.”

To encourage that pride, Kia and Innocean focused on the vehicle’s points of differentiation among its segment, such as its technological features like a passenger-view camera that displays the second and third rows on a front multimedia screen.

But the look of the new Carnival, which is the first production vehicle to sport Kia’s new brand logo, was also important to emphasize, Kopke says.

“The front end, especially, has a very strong SUV look,” he explains, noting that in testing, that SUV-like appearance “opened the eyes of people who wouldn’t normally consider the segment.”

The new campaign is running on digital, social, online video and TV across various lengths and in both official languages. It was produced under COVID-19 restrictions, with footage shot in Vancouver and managed in Innocean’s Toronto and Montreal offices.