Kia’s Viral Commercials Are All About The Hamsters, Not So Much The Cars

hamsterThe original commercial for the Kia Soul wasn’t quite like anything else in car ads. While it was computer-animated and probably not cheap to produce, the full one-minute spot received millions of views on YouTube. Kia’s cute hamsters and clear storyline got everyone’s attention, and that was the company’s goal.

If you forgot, here’s that original spot from when Kia introduced the Soul in 2010.

The message is clear: every other hamster is in a squeaky wire wheel, while the hamsters driving a Soul are the new wave of freshness, cool, and holding an impossibly tiny iPod in one’s paw. (Obviously the Silent Spinner hadn’t yet hit Hamsterdam in 2009.)

The latest spot for the 2014 Soul isn’t about the car at all. It’s about the hamsters. As Bloomberg Businessweek points out, though, that’s okay: the hip-hop hamsters are now established mascots, and successive ads have been more about the ham-stars than about the car itself. That’s different from other car ads, where the car itself is the star.

In the 2014 ad, there’s a training montage and some odd interspecies flirting as the hamsters get ready for a red-carpet debut at an unidentified event.

Kia’s Hip-Hop Hamsters Are a Branding Bargain [Businessweek]