Kia Soul


The main goal of the Kia Soul promotion was to connect with many people by attracting more attention with fun ads on many media. It began with the television ad, what was just the honey on the chicken, where people were invited by it to get more involved by Kia Soul. The commercial also left a strong impact. Not only in America, where it was produced, but also in Korea where other ads of Kia also were showed. This may be caused by the increasing use of more ways of media, for example YouTube and social media. The ad was quite popular, because it was happy, playful and cute approaching a large audience using ‘characters’ that we (all) love, hamsters. Especially in Korea, where cute is more common and used in advertisement than in western countries. However a slow change in acceptability can be noticed. Hamsters used in the Albert Heijn commercials are an example for this. Also, the hamsters in the commercial were gangster hamsters making it more acceptable among a larger audience.

After seeing the television ad, people could watch more video’s on YouTube about ‘making of’ the Kia Soul commercial, other Kia commercials, browsing it on Google and on see it on social media sites like facebook. These lead to more information about the Kia Soul by interactive sites, games and even a Go Hamster Go app for your mobile phone. Even famous people on the internet were used to promote the Kia Soul.

A repeating element in the commercial, on the site and in the app are the hamsters that are used as hyper. In Korea they went even further and actually went to a crowded place, shopping centre, to let the hamster characters meet the people and enjoy people with dancing (breakdance, what is also quite popular right now). They allowed customers to experience the Kia Soul brand as fun and exciting as well as its practicality. Kia Soul cars were also placed on a promotion stand where the practicality while shopping was showed.


The Kia Soul hamster TV commercial lets people know about the existence of the new car of Kia, while at the same time giving it its fun and exciting image and shows the Kia Soul as a nice and fresh car. Korean people that didn’t see the commercial, could see the hamsters in the shopping centre leaving them surprised and aware of the product (maybe also interested). The many movie clips about of Kia Soul, could also be found on the internet by accidnet when one was looking for a new car.


If one had seen the commercial on TV, they would know about it, recognize further ads on the internet, talk with friends and relatives about it. They maybe even think about the Kia Soul every time they see a hamster (which isn’t hard these days, with more use of hamster images in

advertisement and the growing popularity of hamsters again). People will go to the site of Kia Soul, play the game, and see more clips of e.g. ‘the making of’ the Kia Soul hamster commercial.


Experiencing the Kia Soul by these media, gets the customer not only interested but can also lead to liking it or help wanting it more than they already did. People will browse and ‘create’ their own dream Kia, get the Go hamster Go app on their phone, get a wallpaper of the Kia Soul, subscribe to more Kia news and maybe become a fan on facebook.


The final step is where the customer gets so excited about the product that he or she is practically ready to get the product. The procedure of getting the product is therefore made as easy as possible to help the customer and keeping them wanting to act. People will also talk about their product, review it, enjoy it by sharing it with others via social media and events. This is also a valuable way of ‘advertising’, that could either break or enhance the product and brand image.


The following media were used to promote the KIA Soul. Each has its specific qualities and media characteristics which influence the manner information is distributed.

Television: Television is used to reach the big masses and let them be aware of KIA Soul. This is good media for attracting people, because television can be thought of as a passive way of receiving information. This is enough to just inform people, but also to give them a message of what the image of KIA Soul is through music and images. Because, TV ads are expensive and therefore last for 30 seconds at the most (maybe on favorable times), it is wise having more media channels at disposal.


The internet is where people will go to get more information about KIA Soul. Available every hour of the day, every day in the year, it is a relatively cheap and effective media to communicate with.  People can be unfamiliar with KIA Soul and are then attracted to it through advertisement on internet, however pure advertisement is annoying for customers and should therfore be avoided. It could also be that they already know KIA Soul from the TV commercial or other media (site, mobile application) and want to know more, because their interested. Places where these information is stored are:

  • Sites The KIA Soul site itself is the site with everything you want to know when you are more interested and are considering getting it (desire). On the site, there are also fun widgets who let you experience the KIA Soul in a fun way.
  • Social media More and more people use social media nowadays. Communicating among these channels is a good way of broadening ones message output. Kia Soul has a facebook and a twitter page. People that know the ad can look it up on facebook and twitter, sharing it with friends and so making it more known. These sites offer comments/opinions from other persons around the world (strong commercializing) and photos and videos (that are linked from YouTube).
  • YouTube Another mass-media that is very popular and known nowadays is YouTube. YouTube comes in vary handy for publishing video’s, since it is well known and can link to other sites such as facebook and the KIA Soul site itself.

Mobile application

Sometimes the advertisement may be more fun than the actual product. People sometimes remember the most funny commercials without remembering what brand it was for. Mobile applications respond in a different way to experiencing the commercial. After seeing all the video’s someone can develop a certain desire (what sometimes not necessarily have to deal with the product). Applications on mobile phones can offer more fun and experience via applications such as games and information that are simultaneously linked with the internet, letting you publish your game score on facebook for example. This interplay of applications to internet strengthens the overall publicity and image (if all media are consistent).


Not only digital media is used. Reaching out to people on the street can have a bigger effect. People are surprised, because it is so interactive and real. Also, the message will be better remembered and hopefully in a good way. The players and their act promoting become the ‘layout’ of the promotion and therefore the total emotional effect can rely strongly on these. It would be nice if this event also would be linked to digital media to attract people from one media to another.

Identity and visual design

The identity and visual design is everything in this promotion, because people have to recognize it at first glance. Getting the message is the most important thing. Furthermore, delivering the wanted ‘feeling’ and vibe of the commercial can be supported by the overall style of the layout, the corresponding music and e.g. quotes that are stated.  So a consistent layout, with the familiar KIA logo is important to get people acquainted with the ad and the message they are casting. In the Kia promotion, you see that the layout is clear mixed with vibrant colours, radiating an honest and happy vibe. are usedAlso, very important in this promotion, using the same hamster characters all the time, will make the promotion recognizable and linked to the hamsters. When someone mentions Kia Soul, the first thing that comes to peoples mind will be the hamsters. When Kia advertised in a shopping centre in Korea, they had precisely the same hamsters with the same costume that gave that recognition of Kia from the hamster commercial.


The following points, extracted from this analysis, can help us in our design process that we can consult regularly during our design process:

–          Supporting our identity and publicity by introducing characters to our design

–          Not only using internet as media, but also real old-fashioned media like distributing flyer, holding special events/demonstrations/competitions can offer more publicity.


Kia Soul Hamster Commercial

Soul Hamsters in Korea

Soul Hamsters in Korea ‘making of’

Kia Soul on facebook

Kia Soul site


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