Kia Saves Money on Land and Sea

LOS ANGELES Following a campaign that suggested its spokesman with a bullhorn was a political activist, two current TV spots for Kia Motors America running through the holidays spoof conservation pitches, according the company’s vice president of marketing.

“While everyone is yelling deal, deal, deal, we’re using the spokesperson to speak to the consumer in a humorous, direct way,” said Ian Beavis at Kia in Irvine, Calif. “I think ‘saving the greenbacks’ is something that we all want to do.”

In “Beach,” the spokesman and cohorts rescue floating dollar bills from the surf, treating the money squandered on non-Kia cash-back events as if it is an endangered species. “The greenbacks are disappearing at an alarming rate, thousands every day,” says the spokesman. He implores concerned viewers to return the greenbacks to “their natural habitat of pockets, wallets and bank accounts.”

In a second 30-second spot (“Arctic”), money is seen on the tundra. As the conservationist picks up a torn bill from the ice, his voice cracks, “This one barely stood a chance.” The Sedona and Sorento minivans are the highlighted models.

Both commercials were created by independent davidandgoliath, Los Angeles, under chief creative officer David Angelo. Ray Johnson, group creative director, worked with associate creative director, copywriter Ben Purcell and associate creative director, art director Simon Tuplin on the two spots. Tony Kaye directed.

KMA is up 3 percent in unit sales through November, according to Car Concepts, Thousand Oaks, Calif. The Sedona, however, is down 15 percent, calendar year to date, to 49,000 units, and the Sorento is off 8 percent to 45,000 units, per Car Concepts.

The automaker spent $200 million on advertising through September 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.