Kia Welcomes a New Hamster and It’s the Littlest, Wildest, Cutest One Yet

David&Goliath introduces the Kia Soul Turbo

Headshot of Erik Oster

The Kia hamsters are back, and they’ve added a new member to the family.

To introduce the brand’s new Soul Turbo vehicle, David&Goliath created a spot featuring a cute new baby hamster named Turbo.

Like Kia’s new 201-horsepower vehicle, the pint-sized rodent is not exactly easy to catch up with. A nurse returns to the maternity ward to find Turbo missing. She soon discovers him running around the hospital, causing all kinds of mischief and evading hospital staff, perfectly soundtracked by Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades,” until it appears the little hamster’s crazed exuberance may lead to a premature demise.

But of course, there’s a happy ending, as the rest of the Kia hamster family arrive in a Soul Turbo just in time to whisk Turbo away. Good luck getting that hyper hamster to sit still for the car ride, though.

The 90-second spot makes its debut online today and in theaters Friday, appearing on 25,000 screens nationwide in National CineMedia and Screenvision movie networks. The campaign will run throughout the summer, supported by social media, and also includes 90-, 60-, 30- and 15-second extensions that will run both in theaters and online.

“And you can always count on Kia’s music-loving hamsters to make a few personal appearances at events and auto shows along the way,” Kia Motors America vp of marketing Saad Chehab told Adweek, calling the characters “a major factor in the Kia Soul’s ongoing popularity and success.”

“When you create a longstanding icon that people love, it’s always a challenge to keep it fresh and relevant,” added David&Goliath founder and chairman David Angelo. “Over the years, people have grown to love these furry critters. … The last thing we want to do is disappoint them. Which means every year we have to up our game. This year, we leveraged a combination of storytelling, pop culture and pure adrenalin with a totally new character.”

Angelo called Turbo “not only the embodiment of the new Turbo Soul but also the maverick challenger spirit of the Kia brand.”

He joked that the idea for the character came “After the 14th cup of coffee on a Thursday night.”

“Actually, we wanted to introduce a more narrative approach to the hamster campaign than we have in the past,” he added. “Something that signified a new chapter for Kia.”

As for the song choice, Angelo says it functions as both a tribute to Motorhead’s late Lemmy Kilmisterwho died in December 2015, and the perfect song to fit the high-speed action of the ad.

“Kia has always had its finger on the pulse of pop culture. And at the center of that is music,” he added. “The idea always comes first, but then the job that follows is to take it to the next level with the right piece of music. And having an agency full of music-crazed millennials, many of whom are huge Motorhead fans, doesn’t hurt either.”

Agency: David&Goliath, LA
Founder & Chairman: David Angelo
Chief Creative Officer: Bobby Pearce
Executive Creative Director: Gustavo Sarkis
Creative Directors: Basil Cowieson, James Cohen
Director of Broadcast Production: Paul Albanese
Executive Broadcast Producer: Curt O’Brien
Chief Strategic Officer: Wells Davis
Associate Planning Director: Ed Gibson
Senior Project Manager: Genie Lara
Junior Project Manager: Paul Stephens

Managing Director: Jeff Moohr
Group Account Director: Mike O’Malley
Management Supervisor: Aleks Rzeznik
Senior Account Executive: Annelise Lorenzo
Product Information Manager: Mark McNaul
Director, Business Affairs: Rodney Pizarro
Business Affairs Manager: Daniella Vargas

Digital Account Director: Marco Koenig
Digital Senior Account Executive: Rebecca Hanson

Production: MJZ
Director: Matthijs Van Heijningen
President: David Zander
Senior Executive Producer: Eriks Krumins
Producer: Donald Taylor

Editorial: Work Editorial
Editor: Jono Griffith
Executive Producer: Marlo Baird
Producer: Brandee Probasco
Assistant Editor: Josh Sasson

Visual Effects: JAMM
VFX Supervisors/Lead Compositers: Jake Montgomery, Andy Boyd
Senior Flame Artist: Brian Hajek
Executive Producer: Asher Edwards
Producer: Ashley Greyson

Color: MPC
Colorist: Mark Gethin
Executive Producer: Meghan Lang

Music Editing/Sound Design: Stimmung
Creative Director: Rory Doggett
Sound Designer: Gus Koven
Executive Producer: Kristina Iwankiw

Licensed Music: “Ace of Spades” By Motörhead

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@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.