Comic, Yodeler, Mime Present Kia’s Humanity

LOS ANGELES Kia Motors America’s relaunch of the Optima sedan begins Monday with three spots from independent davidandgoliath, the automaker said today.

The 30-second commercials use passengers (a mime, borscht-belt comic and yodeler) and a driver as “connective tissue,” said David Angelo, chief creative officer at the Los Angeles agency. “Graphically, we use a variation on the same opening shot so that every time you see the commercial coming on, you’ll pay attention,” he said.

Angelo said the brief from the Irvine, Calif.-based automaker expressed the need to emphasize three key features: improved noise reduction, spaciousness and performance.

“The quietness of the ride has become a surrogate for quality in the mind of buyers,” said Ian Beavis, KMA vice president of marketing. “Interior room is what people have come to expect in a midsize vehicle, and performance is the enabling aspect of what Kia value provides.”

In “Quiet,” the comic tells a lame joke to the deafening silence of the backseat passengers. The punch line, delivered by a voiceover, is: “Introducing the stunningly quiet, all-new Kia Optima. So quiet, it’s not even funny.”

In “Space,” the yodeler, dressed in traditional lederhosen and feathered cap, belts out a song, then cups his ear as overhead shots roam the car’s interior. Finally, the echo comes back, and the yodeler approves, in German, “Ja, das ist gut!” Voiceover: “Introducing the unusually spacious all-new Kia Optima. Now that’s big.”

In “Performance,” the mime acts out the sensations of a fast ride with exaggerated body movements. At the conclusion, he blows the act and says, “Wow!” The closing narration: “Introducing the exhilarating performance of the all-new Kia Optima. People will talk.”

“The spots are unapologetic, confident and deliver Kia’s humanity in an approachable way,” said Angelo. “It is a very competitive category, and [considering the $175 million Camry budget] we’re likely to be outspent five to one,” said Angelo. “We have to do something that stands out in a memorable way. This integrated launch will get people to not only embrace the Optima but think about Kia in a whole new way.”

The client spent $250 million in U.S. measured media last year, but less than $5 million promoting the Optima, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.