Kia Accelerates Its Ad Efforts in $60-Mil. Push

Kia Motors Amer- ica will unveil a new tagline in an estimated $60 million-plus campaign set to launch next month. The effort includes three spots introducing the Sor ento sport util ity vehicle and re de signed Optima sedan.

The effort, the first campaign to bear the imprint of new Kia vp of marketing Walter Ander son, is designed to boost the Korean name plate’s image from a maker of low-priced cars to what Anderson described as a full-line, “value-based” automotive marketer. The new tag, “Make every mile count,” is Kia’s first in two years. The company’s last tagline was, “Darn good cars.”

“Most people still really don’t know us, or they have an image of us that is somewhat out-of-date,” said Anderson, who joined the Irvine, Calif.-based automaker in April from Mercedes-Benz USA.

Two Sorento spots from david-andgoliath, Los Ange les, use humor to establish that the SUV will surpass expectations created by its under-$20,000 price.

In one, the vehicle races competitors’ SUVs across a desert, including one described as “too honkin’ huge” and another that’s “afraid to get dirty.” In the end, the Sorento driver tosses out “wads of cash” left over from his purchase to distract the others.

The second spot, set in a car design lab, has a serious-looking spokesman describing features. He concludes that Kia’s accountant was tied up in a closet so the designers could keep the price low.

An Optima spot that breaks next month has co-workers assuming a young executive has been given a pay raise when he starts driving his new Kia to work.

Anderson de-clined to reveal spending, but said the new work rep resents Kia’s “big-gest push” in eight years of selling cars in the U.S. Kia spent $60 million on ads in the fourth quarter last year, according to CMR, and $200 million-plus in all of 2001.