The computer-generated characters have been used for the launches of its Picanto city car and Rio hatchback, and gave the brand a fun, value-led and younger image. However, the manufacturer believes they have reached their limitations, and wants a new marketing focus that puts more emphasis on its new generation of cars.
“We need to show people that we have great products that are probably way ahead of what they expect of a Kia. The cartoon characters weren’t the right way to demonstrate product features and relevance or quality,” says Lawrence Hamilton, general manager of marketing.
“Our task is to create an image for Kia that excites people and gets Kia associated with those key traits of modernity, quality and trustworthiness.
“The more people we can educate, the less resistance there will be through simply not knowing enough about us.
“From an advertising perspective, we have been managing the transition from our previous ‘smart value’ strategy, that was more anchored in the attractive retail prices of our previous model line-up, to a new, more product-focused strategy.”
February’s launch of the Cee’d, Kia’s new entry in the C-segment, will be backed by a large-budget promotion, including national TV and print advertising.
Hamilton describes it as a “massive campaign”, which will start on January 18 and hints that the car will not be the only star involved.
“Cee’d is an exceptional product that will really surprise a lot of people. The quality is fantastic and this will really please our customers. What we have to do is prove the quality, not just claim it, which is why we will back up our claims with the seven-year warranty.”