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Car ads are notoriously bad.
So many are either like shampoo ads [showing the same gleaming visual from different angles over and over again] or beer ads [basically a sponsored joke, probably relating to how stupid a man is or some other pile of sexist, low-rent, unimaginative twaddle]
They used to be so good … from Volkswagen to Rolls Royce … but now, apart from the odd exception, they’re all about as bland as their overall design.
In some respects, that should be good for the smaller car brands because there’s a real chance to stand out, but no … instead so many go for the same bland and boring approach as the big boys, as if they think by acting like them, they’ll be perceived in the same way as them.
I remember once being kicked out of a Hyundai meeting – and told never to come back – because I dared suggest they should be positioned as ‘the Robin Hood of cars’.
My basic premise was that the general public thought they were cheap and nasty and we could change this perception by suggesting they ‘borrowed’ their thinking and technology from the wealthy and well respected competitors and say this is what allowed them to build a great car at a fraction of the price of brands like VW, Ford or Toyota.
Instead they ran a campaign that said something like “$15,000 On The Road” and cemented their reputation as nothing more than cheap [built] metal.
OK, so I can sort-of understand why they would be pissed, but ignoring the ‘cheap metal’ label that had been bestowed on them wasn’t going to do any good either.
As we saw with that awesome Skoda ad [after VW had bought the brand], tackling negative perceptions head on can be far more powerful than simply ignoring them [ala my ‘unplanned’ view] though I do have to credit them for that great ‘give it back & don’t suffer the consequences’ promotion that they did in the US that drove sales even when the economy was keeping car buyers locked in their houses.
Anyway, I digress.
The reason for this post is that I recently saw this:
‘Inspired by what you like?’
As opposed to being inspired by what you don’t like?
Seriously, even their ‘Power To Surprise’ line – which was shit – was better than that bollocks because it at least hinted they accepted how people currently perceived them and that the reality was soooo much better.
OK, to be fair I do think it could be made to be interesting and intelligent, but given this is a brand that has paid Rafael Nadal a fucking fortune to appear in their ads, it appears they are purveyors of ‘the lowest common denominator’ approach to advertising.
Talking of Nada, do Kia really think that:
… people will believe he really drives one of their cars of his own free will?
… people will buy a Kia simply because Rafael Nadal appears in their ads?
I appreciate celebrity endorsement is very powerful – hell, I live in the region of celebrity endorsement – but that is fucking ridiculous.
Like Hyundai, I really feel they would be better off strategically if they tackled the issue head on.
Sure, that might make them nervous but if the goal of a car ad is basically to get on the ‘consideration list’, even if it’s just to ‘check it out’, that’s a damn site better than being in the position where people dismiss you before they’ve even seen or heard what you have to offer.
Again, I’m not talking about doing a bunch of overly rational ads, spouting off an endless list of features … I’m talking about pulling everything together under a single idea that takes the negative public perception and plays with it rather than sticking their head in the sand and ignoring it.
While I’m at it, can I complain about all these car positioning’s with lines like ‘POWER TO SURPRISE’ … ‘ENGINEERED TO EXCITE’ … stuff.
And I include those brands that say their line in a foreign language … especially a foreign language where you can’t tell what the fuck they are trying to say.*
Yes, I know it’s all a play on words associated with cars and driving experience, but in the main it’s all bollocks and completely undifferentiated.
Like so many of the new car designs that roll off the production line.
Seriously, the biggest thing most car ads tell you is how delusional – or myopic – the senior management of the car brand is.
Which is another reason why our Chrysler work is so good.
Oh god, I am digressing again aren’t I.
OK … OK …
So to KIA, please accept your brand realities because I honestly think that as soon as you do that, you’re on the road [sorry, couldn’t resist] to a much better future and that would be a lot more fun to watch than any of your current ads.
[* Audi is excluded from this, because they did it first and did it brilliantly]
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