Kia hit the reset button on Super Bowl Sunday.
Gone are the big stars, wacky storylines and dancing hamsters. Instead, the Korean brand pointed the nation's attention 81 miles southwest of Atlanta, where the big game was played, to a "small Georgia town of complete unknowns" who assemble the burly three-row Telluride crossover that goes on sale this year.
Kia's 90-second spot, which was to air in the third quarter, is both an invitation to buyers who've never considered the brand and a rallying cry for the workers who've helped catapult the company to where it is today, said Saad Chehab, vice president of marketing communications for Kia Motors America.
Kia is proud of "being the working-class brand for the working-class folks," he said.
The Korean automaker, which opened its lone U.S. plant in 2010, breathed new life into West Point, the small town that had been ravaged by the loss of its textile mills. But the area now has a revitalized economic base thanks to Kia and the suppliers that followed, giving the descendants of the mill workers another industry to call their own — and a family hauler they can be proud to make.
Chehab has been down the inspirational path before, as a member of the Chrysler team in the wake of the Great Recession. The group developed the resonant "Born of Fire" spot from 2011's Super Bowl, a defiant testament to Detroit's manufacturing prowess that featured Eminem and the Selected of God choir.