Is Kia's Robo Dog here to stay?
The cute electronic canine has a star turn in Kia's 13th Super Bowl spot, which features the EV6. The dog, longing for an owner, chases down the battery-electric crossover with hopes that the driver will take it home.
Kia created adorable ambassadors before with its dancing hamsters. The hamsters weren't meant to be long-term characters, but they ended up sticking around because they were a hit with viewers, said Russell Wager, vice president of marketing for Kia America.
Wager wouldn't rule out the chance of the same thing happening with Robo Dog if there's a similar public reaction.
Kia released the spot online Feb. 3, well before the Super Bowl this Sunday. The ad is bolstered by a larger social campaign on TikTok where users can dance with Robo Dog. The brand this week also launched an augmented reality experience, or "Robo Dogmented Reality," where the dog appears in the user's environment when they look through their phone camera. There’s also an online hub that allows users to search for adoptable animals in their areas through a partnership with the Petfinder Foundation.
Reporter Vince Bond Jr. spoke to Wager and Marisstella Marinkovic, Kia America's director of marketing operations, about the origins of Robo Dog and the inspiration for the ad. Here are edited excerpts.