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OEM AD Spotlight: KIA Canada

Whitney Norrad   •   

Jun 02 2020   •   

4-5 min read

When it comes to looking at ads, critiquing them, and nerding out about them: we love it. Our team is always sharing what we think of ads of all types, including national videos.

Many are boring and don’t stand out from the crowd. Some are creative and engaging. Others are hilarious. The rest? Little nuggets of gold in a haystack.

Kia Ads of The Past

Kia has had several reputations over the course of the years since entering the North American market. We had the weird and wild Sportage commercials with the goths and swamp people, then there was a mid-moment where the brand felt cheap, before gaining entry into the fairly-priced import scene with the likes of Hyundai and Nissan.

While always being unique, the progression of the Kia brand has felt like an awkward teenager shedding their baby fat and figuring out who they want to be.

Enter 2020 Kia Canada Ads

Over the past two or three years, it has felt more like Kia finally found its footing as a brand that can compete well in our North American market.

Whether we’re looking at digital graphics, print ads, in-store mockups or the Kia Canada YouTube channel, Kia stands out. Thankfully, not in a way that’s too obnoxious for the mass market.

You’ll find bright, vibrant colours and imagery.

You’ll find young, sharp videos with quick cuts and fast feelings.

You’ll find fun and lively copy that isn’t common in the automotive space.

The tagline “The Power to Surprise” is no longer a moniker, but a very realistic representation of the brand. To someone in with a family, the surprise might mean that their lineup has luxurious and family-friendly options at reasonable prices. To a young professional, this could look like them being surprised by how competitive Kia vehicles can be when it comes to current technology. To anyone that was old enough to see the commercials of the early 2000s... the surprise is that they’re considering a brand that started with swamp-goth commercials!


What They’re Doing Right

There are better people out there to critique filmmaking than I am, and I’ll admit that. With that being said, I’m fortunate to have the unique vantage point of a digital marketer and a human that drives a vehicle.

Two weeks ago, Kia Canada released a 30-second video ad for their new Seltos subcompact SUV.


This is the first automotive ad in a long time that I was complete engrossed with and willingly (not just because of my job) watched through to the end.

Here’s why it stands out:

• Bangin’ audio - whether you’re a fan of this type of music, there’s no denying that this song is catchy and sets a mood from the first beat.

• Bangin’ sound effects - notice the camera snaps, engine rolling over, and water sounds? They’re adding to the mood they’ve set with the song.

• Quick, sharp cuts - the speed at which the clips change is fast-paced and doesn’t give you time to get bored. This is very current, and also popular amongst YouTube creators. Bonus: There’s not a single long clip of the SUV going around a looooong, turning mountainside—you all know exactly the shot I’m talking about!

• Consistency - notice that they included “LONG. LIVE. SURPRISE.” in the clips towards the end? This creates brand consistency with the terms used, as well as visually with the bright colours inside of the letters.

• It’s not boring - there might be a more poetic way to say this, but saying that it isn’t boring is the most accurate. The ad starts and you’re at the end and wondering why your foot is tapping before you know it. Graffiti, artistic model shots, and a nod at the high-end city feeling? Yep.

I’m a tiny truck person and I’m watching this thinking: “This SUV looks tempting!”

Now, not everyone gets as into car ads as I do, and that’s alright.


What Can an Asset like this Mean for Digital Marketers and Consumers?

When we run video-based ads for our clients, the ones that perform the best:

1. Don’t look like commercials.

2. Are short enough to actually be watched through to the end.

3. Are unique.

4. Make sense for the audience you’re advertising to.

If it does look like an ad, there needs to be value given. It needs to be useful and educational. Not the same old, same old “Check out our new 2020s!” coupled with a long drive on that mountainside!

This specific ad has been live for two weeks and has 2,428,604 views as of this writing.

Many dealers don’t want to invest in video assets, but we think that great video content is worth it. Why? It can be used in Facebook ads, Google display ads, social posts, blog posts, landing pages, and more!

If you’re a dealership but you don’t currently have the funds to allocate to video content, taking advantage of impressive video assets when your OEM creates them is an easy win.

If you’re a marketer but you can’t get your owners to invest in video, the same opportunity exists: use what your OEM gave you when it makes sense.

If you’re unsure about where to start with using video ads, or digital ads at all, download the Dealership Ad Secrets eBook, by our CEO and host of The Dealer Playbook Podcast, Michael Cirillo. Inside, you’ll find tips on how to leverage your digital content and win using proven digital ads strategies.

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