Just who is Kia marketing to?

The Big Game (did you know it is illegal to refer to it as name we all know it by, without the NFL’s express permission?) February 13, 2022, Kia runs their “Robo Dog” ad. In it a robotic toy dog escapes from a toy store to chase a Kia EV6 owner around a city until the toy runs out of power. The EV6 owner finds and resuscitates the dog using the battery in his Kia. The ad’s messaging, “EV6 owners are sympathetic, good, caring people,” and apparently that Kia’s EV6 has a longer battery life than … a toy dog? Hmm.

April 2022 Kia rolls out their “Beachcomber,” ad. In this spot a Kia Sportage X-Pro driver is seen frantically racing his SUV up and down the beach. Ah hah! They were demonstrating the Sportage’s off-road capability! No. The Sportage driver was dragging a Mad Max styled homemade contraption behind the SUV clearing garbage from the beach … just moments before sea turtles appear. I wonder how many sea turtles and their eggs the Sportage driver inadvertently scooped up in his rake? Only the prop department knows for sure. The ad’s messaging, “Kia owners care about the environment,” or they think public beaches are their own personal rally road courses to drive recklessly on.

September 2022 Kia is the Official Automotive Partner of the Emmy Awards. In what appeared to many viewers to be a one minute 45 second sketch scripted into the show itself Kia debuted the 2023 Telluride. It is not clear what the messaging was however it seems the intent of the sketch was comedy. You be the judge. Kia also aired a one minute spot entitled A New Elevation where a couple drive their Telluride X-Pro beyond the clouds only to find workers on scaffolding painting the sky and mist into the atmosphere. Advertising money well spent? The 2022 Emmy’s recorded the lowest ratings in history with only 5.92 million viewers. By comparison the 2021 Emmys scored 6.4 million viewers, until that point the lowest on record. It is no surprise, television audiences are forsaking award shows, the trend is clear.

Who is Kia marketing to? Not me. And based on their ad placement during the Emmy’s likely not you.

It’s time for Kia to run ads that communicate that their cars are superior to the competition, not that I am morally superior than my neighbor if I choose to drive a Kia. Then they need to place those ads where it counts.

That’s my opinion, what’s yours?

Tom D’Angelo is one of the Administrators of Stung by Kia and a 2018 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD owner. You can find him on Instagram at @2268NYP or on Facebook.