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Kia's Push for Forte Turns on 'Firsts'

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NEW YORK Kia introduced the Forte compact sedan last week with a campaign from David & Goliath, Los Angeles, that positions the automaker as a "pioneer" and the car as "the first of its kind."

The campaign, which includes TV, print, outdoor and digital advertising, as well a social networking effort to follow, spotlights the car's standard inclusion of features usually reserved by other manufactures for larger, more expensive models.

A 30-second commercial shows a Forte circled by screens projecting images of historical footage of early engine development, speed tests and a modern-day concert. "We didn't invent the engine. We weren't the first to have the need for speed," says the voiceover, adding that Kia didn't invent Bluetooth or satellite radio, either. "But when it comes to making all of this and more standard in a compact car, consider us pioneers."

"It's all about paying homage to all the firsts out there but in the end saying there is only one car company that has been able to put all these firsts in a compact sedan and that in itself is a first," said David Angelo, chairman and chief creative officer of David & Goliath. "It takes on the compact car conventions."

A print series uses fictional animal hybrids to highlight attributes such as design and fuel efficiency. For example, in one ad, a cheetah-camel is pictured above the Forte and the headline "Fast and Fuel Efficient," and another showing a peacock-turtle mix describes the car as "Stylish and Safe."

Kia spent $300 million last year in major measured media.