Kia shifts celebrity budget to scholarship fund in Super Bowl ad teaser
- Kia Motors debuted a 30-second teaser ad for its upcoming Super Bowl commercial during the NFC Championship game on Jan. 20, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
- This year, Kia says it is forgoing celebrity endorsements during its tenth consecutive Super Bowl appearance and is vowing to spend that money differently by launching "The Great Unknowns Scholarship" to help young people in need of access to higher education.
- The teaser and full spot were created with agency David&Goliath, and Kia plans to unveil more details about the campaign ahead of game day.
Celebrity cameos are a popular Super Bowl marketing tactic, and several brands have already introduced celebrity-packed spots for this year's big game. Kia is taking a different approach by embracing a cause-driven message and launching a scholarship fund, a move likely targeting younger consumers who are more receptive to cause-focused messaging and are growing to expect their favorite brands to take public stances on social issues like funding higher education. Celebrity endorsements in marketing don't often land with millennials, who see them as less trustworthy than lesser-known influencers. These demographics have also proven to been less receptive to auto brands, and Kia is likely hoping "The Great Unknowns Scholarship" will make an impact on society and build brand loyalty with the next generation of car buyers.
The new campaign is a contrast to Kia's past Super Bowl efforts that starred celebrities. Last year, Kia's ad featured Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and urged consumers to watch a YouTube clip in reverse to unlock a hidden message. The ad was a play on "backmasking," a trend by rock bands in the '70s and '80s. In years prior, Kia tapped comedian Melissa McCarthy and actor Christopher Walken, according to Media Post.
Kia has embraced social causes in other recent marketing. The auto brand debuted a campaign in November featuring award-winning, all-female mariachi band Flor De Toloache for a video series celebrating Latina business owners, combining celebrity endorsement and cause-marketing elements. Kia also donated a laptop to each entrepreneur to help their businesses grow.