Kia Takes Safety-First Tack for Sedona

NEW YORK Kia Motors America has unveiled a new campaign for its Sedona minivan.

Three 30-second spots from davidandgoliath in Los Angeles tout minivan safety by showing daily mishaps involving kids in a house and yard from the perspective of a hand-held video, cutting to beauty shots of the Sedona in front of upscale homes.

One spot shows kids running rampant in a living room until one crashes over a couch, upturning a lamp. Another presents a woman with her kids at the zoo. She puts one next to the orangutan cage, and while she’s urging the other boy to stand next to his brother, the orangutan strolls up, grabs the first boy and starts shaking.

The new spots use no voiceover, just the text, “Protect them when you can,” and a banner showing five stars denoting Sedona’s five-star National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rating.

Ads are airing on network and cable family programs. Kia spent $220 million through November last year and $48 million on the minivan, which launched in 2002, per CMR.

“It’s meant to feel like a slice of life,” said Mike Dillon, account director at davidandgoliath, adding that the divergent strategy of contrasting serene shots of the model against slightly chaotic scenes of daily life without any outside commentary is an attempt to break through the current chatter touting minivan deals, and move the brand upmarket. “We knew we couldn’t outshout competitors,” he said. “Everyone else is touting deals. Kia is no longer just about entry-level vehicles.”

Dillon said that an accompanying print push in monthly and weekly consumer publications has its own creative strategy and showcases styling. The series uses the new tagline, “Make every mile count,” launched with a $60 million-plus campaign last fall that introduced the Sorento sport utility vehicle. The new tag replaces the two-year-old “Darn good cars.”

Kia’s sales were up 6 percent last year to 237,345 units, per Ward’s Autobank. The company reports Sedona sales through February were up 21 percent versus the period last year, and full line sales in the first two months this year are the best in the company’s history. Sedona, introduced in July 2001, had sales of more than 39,000 units last year.