Kia Hamster Ads

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Go With This, or Go With That: The Success of the Kia Soul Ad Campaign

Abstract
In the current post-2008 recovering economic climate, marketing budgets are tight, and now, more than ever, it is vital that advertising is effective and able to justify the investment required. This paper explores the recent Kia Soul hamster commercial series, and analyzes why they work: what elements of appeal, target market, and defining attributes have ensured their success. By anticipating trends, focusing on a specific demographic, researching what appeals to that group and using the right tools to send the message, companies will be able to create ads that are unforgettable and extremely convincing.

Imagine that you have transformed into a hamster, and are getting ready to go to work. You climb into your run-of-the-mill cage and then prepare to sit in traffic along with other hamsters literally spinning in place. Sighing, you wish for an intervention to alleviate the boredom and frustration of waiting with everyone else in the day-to-day race that defines your job commute. Lo and behold, along comes a small boxy car with a few ‘hip’ hamsters riding with the windows open. They pull up next to you, one nods knowingly, and the light changes. Left behind in the dust, you watch as they speed ahead in the new Kia Soul. They are having a great time, listening to rap on an MP3 player, tapping their claws in time to the music. Then you see the car again, along with local dealer incentives. This scenario is not a dream, but one in a series of television advertisements featuring the Kia Soul. Why does it work? Why does it garner so much attention? In a recent Internet search, the phrase “Kia hamster commercial” generated more than two million results in 0.66 seconds (Google, 2010). In today’s economic climate, marketing budgets are tight, and now, more than ever, it is vital that advertising is effective and able to justify the investment required. Two critical...
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