Kia's Super Bowl Ad Is Relatable Despite Larger-Than-Life Stunts

The lighthearted spot stands out from the carmaker's recent purpose-driven Big Game ads

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This year Kia’s shying away from the emotional, purpose-driven ads it’s focused on recently in favor of lighthearted content spotlighting its Telluride X-Pro SUV.

“Binky Dad,” created with Kia’s longtime creative agency of record David & Goliath, is the brand’s 14th Super Bowl spot. And it’s relatable, despite the larger-than-life stunts that make up a majority of the scenes.

Set to the tune of Rocky’s theme song, “Gonna Fly Now,” the ad shows new parents checking into a mountain resort with their 1-year-old. To their dismay, they realize that they’ve forgotten their baby’s pacifier.

The events that unfold next showcase the lengths parents are willing to go to keep their young children happy. A father races back home to pick up the pacifier, taking his Telluride X-Pro down a ski slope, through a crowded football stadium field during a game, and even out a drain pipe into the L.A. River.

Putting the Telluride X-Pro on the map

To execute the drain pipe stunt, David & Goliath had only two vehicles on hand to work with, David Angelo, chairman and founder of David & Goliath, told Adweek. Luckily, the Telluride X-Pro sustained only cosmetic damage after the jump, and the production team captured the scene in just two takes. Those stunt scenes were intentional additions. Kia wanted to emphasize the SUV’s reliability and durability, putting it on adventure-seekers’ maps, according to its vp of marketing, Russell Wager.

“It really is about a community of like-minded tomorrow seekers. So, throughout the campaign, they’re all rooting for each other in many ways,” Angelo said. Referencing Binky Dad’s personal fan base, he added, “Everyone is rooting for this spirit of the underdog.”

As the ad’s protagonist races home to retrieve the pacifier, he becomes an internet sensation. Fans dub him “Binky Dad” on social media, tracking his every move. Upon reaching his destination, he finds a supportive internet fan base gathered around his front door to congratulate him.

With a green pacifier in hand, Binky Dad returns to the mountain resort and presents it to a fussy baby, who promptly spits it out. It turns out, Binky Dad grabbed the wrong pacifier—the baby only takes the blue one.

David & Goliath cast twins in the spot, Angelo told Adweek. To capture the baby rejecting the pacifier, the team dipped it in lemon juice, hoping the infant on stage would spit it out. Only one of the twins did. The other, Angelo recalled, enjoyed the lemon taste.

Brand and agency reviewed thousands of songs before opting for the Rocky theme. “There’s no better underdog [than the Rocky character], you know? Plus, it has this incredible build,” Angelo said of the song. 

The song choice was fitting for a few other reasons. Rocky’s Philadelphia setting, given the Philadelphia Eagles’ participation in this year’s Big Game, is one. The Kia team also wanted to take advantage of the hype surrounding the next Creed movie installment, which premiers at the end of this month.

A lighthearted pivot

Last year, Kia’s “Robo Dog” spot showcased its EV6 and made a VFX-generated robotic dog the protagonist. The ad resonated with viewers, capturing the No. 4 spot on USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter. It also featured an AR component, with viewers able to scan a QR code to bring Kia’s Robo Dog to life inside their homes.

This year, the brand is opting for another immersive experience. It developed three alternate endings, airing on Kia’s TikTok, that show what could have happened when Binky Dad raced home, once again, to grab the blue pacifier. The brand asks viewers to engage with the online content by submitting their own alternate endings.

“We don’t set out to create a Super Bowl spot, per se, but a Super Bowl experience. And that experience comes down to the art of storytelling on multiple levels, multiple platforms,” said Angelo.

While Kia hasn’t yet announced a prize for viewers who do, Wager told Adweek it might opt to “surprise and delight” one of them.

@kiausa

Anyone know how to take apart a vacuum? Asking for a friend… #BinkyDad #KiaTellurideXPro

♬ original sound – Kia America

For the latest Super Bowl 57 advertising news—who’s in, who’s out, teasers, full ads and more—check out Adweek’s Super Bowl 2023 Ad Tracker and the rest of our stories here. And join us on the evening of Feb. 12 for the best in-game coverage of the commercials.