The PR industry has its share of “It” factor sensations just like Hollywood, the music business and television. In today’s public relations, these aren’t compelling and highbrow artistic ideas that transform our culture like Apple’s legendary “1984” commercial or Coca-Cola’s iconic Mean Joe Green commercial.
Technology has changed many aspects of marketing and public relations. Digitally animated spokespeople, or spokesthings, such as the Geico Gecko and, yes, the KIA Hampsters represent a strange blend of marketing cuteness, humor, accessibility–and in this case Lady Gaga star power–that connects with the public. And it works.
That is why KIA debuted a fifth version of its Hamster commercials during the VMAs on Sunday night. This time, however, the hip-hop hamsters are going with the public trend of getting healthy, hitting the gym and losing weight—all for a red carpet appearance that symbolizes the aspirational dreams of many viewers raised on reality television stars.
And that’s pretty impressive considering that television stars ride in limousines and KIA is selling glorified hamster wheels. Yet, as the saying goes, you can’t argue with success. “It” factor and all.