Showing posts with label Soul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Soul. Show all posts

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Can't Buy a Kia Soul? At Least Get a T-Shirt

So you love the cute hamster ads Kia has been rolling out for the Kia Soul campaign, but you don't have $15,000 to buy a car to show that love. Well, Kia now has a solution - Hamstar! Hamstar is the campaign interpreted into cotton t-shirts with a hip outline of a hamster head.

I really love how Kia has owned this campaign by demonstrating several ways to engage with their younger fans. Whether it was the tour promotion, Facebook game, or the Moochie YouTube video series, Kia has kept their presence high as it targets the youth market.

Now if only someone can tell me why Hamstar needs a Twitter feed? @HamstarClothing is up and well doing nothing since a few promotional tweets and announcing to all 24 followers that the store is live; it's last tweet on July 21st. Oh well, I guess this helped check the "social" box on the marketing campaign project list.

Still, I really like the idea of adding a line of clothing to help further the campaign; though, one wonders if too much will make Kia "the hamster car maker"?


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kia Microsite and Tour Reaches for Gen-Y

“We got together with a group of really cool people to celebrate Music, Film, Design, Entrepreneur Spirit and Gaming. We call them The Soul Collective”
From this continues Kia’s marketing outreach to teen and twenty-something consumers. The Kia Soul Collective was a ten-city tour promoting the Kia Soul as it showed up at concert events where show goers could get more information about the car and if they arrived between 12pm-8pm could test-drive a car. The effort was run by Cornerstone, a full-service lifestyle marketing company.

The site is divided into a various artistic interests: Music, Film, Design, Entrepreneur. All of the representatives for each section are Gen-Y up-and-comers with some established credibility. They all appeal to the creative nature of the target consumer and attempt to bring some coolness to the Kia Soul product. “Each member of the collective was tasked with demonstrating ‘how they roll’ through creating original films, art, music and more,” states the Press Release announcing the series of free concert events and the Kia Soul Collective site.

The Kia Soul is in a battle of the boxes as it launched the Soul at the same time Nissan launched their aptly named Cube and Scion had recently redesigned their xB. Kia picked up some immediate buzz with their funky hamster TV ad, which was one of the more memorable commercials of 2009. They also received some decent blogger coverage from non-automotive writers.

The Kia Soul Collective effort nixed the hamsters for turntables and nightclubs. The nice thing is there is still a connection across all of the efforts – the slogan “a new way to roll.” Roll can apply in a variety of ways and throughout the campaign has brought together rolling wheels and roll as in attitude. Connecting with artists is a natural integration in showcasing interesting people who have chosen a path that is definitely relevant to the target consumers.

There is a Flickr account setup for the event. I browsed several of the photo galleries and couldn’t find one photo with over 20 views. This isn’t uncommon from what I’ve experienced looking at all kinds of event marketing efforts brought online to Flickr. It doesn’t seem to matter what brand or product, but few people ever view these photos and probably for good reason. They only matter if you attended the event. Watching people you don’t know sign in at tables, drive around in a car, and go to a concert you didn’t attend just isn’t that compelling. It’s probably not even worth the effort to put up these galleries for any brand. Unless you have some compelling reason to do so, like they’re the first photos of the car or a celebrity is involved; otherwise, it’s not worth doing.

What is worth doing that is in the Kia Soul Collective site is the “Click Here for Your Event Photo” section where if you did attend an event you can retrieve it at the site and hopefully learn some more about the Soul’s marketing effort.

One disconnect is that there is virtually zero product information on the site. Obviously, adding product information to a hip, creative site promoting concert events could turnoff the audience Kia wishes to reach; however, providing a simple call to action to learn more about the Soul, say in the right side’s Keep Informed section would’ve been an easy way to promote the car a bit more. There is a Soul logo that is clickable to the Kia site, but clickable logos are weak Calls to Action, something stronger would’ve probably helped with what I’m guessing is a very low click-through rate to product pages.

The other question that begs asking is should this effort exist as an unique site, separate from the Kia Soul Launch experience. The Kia Soul launch site is pretty odd in its own expression and the Soul Collective effort probably could’ve lived in the existing site; instead of creating a whole other web site for people to find.

In an article from iMediaConnection called “3 Reasons to Ditch Your Microsites” author Sean X Cummings states, “Microsites are orphans. The URLs are orphans. You have to keep feeding them, housing them and clothing them, even though no one really wants them anymore.”

Looking at all the effort put into getting people to the Kia Soul Collective microsite, I wonder if Cummings is right. There is no point now that the tour is over and the content is old. No one has a reason to go here, yet Kia still feeds the site by linking to it from their shopping site at Why? Why have potential shoppers go to the Collective URL where you may deter their interest in your product and forget they were even interested in a Kia Soul? Internet users are fickle and you are just a click away to the next attention getter.

That’s why it’s often a better move to integrate your marketing efforts into minimal destinations like the shopping site and a launch experience, and even that you may want to combine into one single destination. I’m personally a fan of having a site for the launch efforts that are not convoluted by shopping links. Let your main site be the destination for serious buyers or product researchers. Let the launch site familiarize visitors with the campaign and key messages you want the product to communicate, not everyone is ready to start Build & Pricing and trying to find a dealership.

Anyway, the Soul Collective is another effort to combine creativity, youth and event marketing. There is nothing revolutionary here, but for what it is it subscribes to most of the fundamental elements company’s have when approaching these efforts: microsite, Flickr and a Twitter account. Being more integrated to the online efforts already in place with the Kia launch site would have alleviated the need to maintain a distinct effort, plus integration with the launch experience would’ve brought more of the digital effort into a more impactful singular effort. It still is a decent effort to reach that coveted Generation-Y demographic so many marketers wish to appeal too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hamsters. They Keeping Going and Going and Going

When you have a highly successful marketing campaign what should you do? Extend, extend, extend… And this is what Kia is doing with their Soul’s hamster campaign. Their TV spots have been very well received and now they are reaching out into social media with “Go Hamster Go” an online game on Facebook.

The game uses augmented reality technology, requiring a webcam. The object is to drop as many hamsters into a Kia Soul as you can in a timed race. You drop each hamster “using the magnet that will appear on your forehead.” Sound odd? Sure but this is a Kia Soul and it’s a bit odd too, but like the car the game is some fun odd.

Your image appears in the background as hamsters roll down an assembly belt and you move your head back and forth to snag hamsters and drop them in Kia Souls that appear, each time the color of the Soul changes featuring the different colors the car comes in. Occasionally, a vehicle feature also appears to the side.

The game promotes Facebook behaviors like “Challenge a Friend” and “Publish” your score which will also inspire more usage as friends share across their social network. I always like the challenge aspect as it gets others who may not be interested in the brand or product at least interested in beating their friend at a game.

The bad part is that there are some barriers to playing. One you need a computer with a webcam and you need to install some software to play, which will cause some drop-off in people playing each other. I sent the game to five friends at work and realized none of them have webcams on their laptops, maybe they can use it at home, if they remember.

Overall the execution is well done. The game play is a bit different but that’s part of its appeal. It’s challenging which is a good thing. Most importantly, it extends the already popular hamster idea a bit further while also making the vehicle a prominent part of the game’s engagement.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Convincingly Hip Hense Kia Soul

You probably know what the Kia Soul is. It’s that cute boxy car with the head-thumping hamsters and lit up speakers. But who is Hense? Hense is an Atlanta born graffiti artist who created a Soul featuring Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

It’s a nice product integration with a show that reaches Kia Soul’s target, hip 20-30 something consumers who see themselves as hip. Hense appeals to that same target in a way that is authentic, plus the car actually works as a rolling piece of graffiti; though, maybe it doesn't work if an un-hip 37 year old like myself likes the look of the finished product.

Today marks the start of the contest. A simple button to enter the sweepstakes was added to the promotion site, that launched in early May, showing what the contest is about and what inspired the artist.

Don’t think the contest entry form forgot about the hip audience. You actually have to check a box saying you “agree with all [of Hyundai’s] draining legal speak.” Dude.

And like a lot of contests lately, you can re-enter the contest everyday until June 28. Sure, the company already has your information and if you check the right boxes, can market you into oblivion, but they want people to reengage by getting people to keep coming back to think Kia Soul. You can keep coming back and everyday you’ll remember that hip Hense designed Soul that you could win and, if you don’t, hopefully you’ll buy one sans graffiti.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rarely Does an iPhone Application Rival the Car

BMW’s new Z4 iPhone application An Expression of Joy is definitely an expression. A joy? There are some moments. Mostly though the application is BMW speaking to itself, not to us.

The application is a very literal interpretation of the Z4’s campaign that features South-African artist Robin Rhode who used the car as a brush driven across a giant canvas. This was BMW’s role reversal concept where instead of BMW cars becoming art cars painted on by famous artists, the Z4 became the brush that drew the painting. It’s an interesting concept but I think the whole campaign is a bit esoteric, oh wait, that’s right BMWs are German, so maybe that is to be expected.

So taking this esoteric concept to the iPhone is rather boring. Guess what you can do in the application? You can drive a Z4 across a canvas using a gas pedal, brakes, change paint colors on tires, and using the iPhone’s accelerometer you can turn the car to drive around the white canvas. Okay, that was fun for one second.

Users stop using iPhone applications pretty quickly, with only about 1% of downloads resulting in long-term audiences according to Pinch Media. When do they become effective? When they meet the needs of the user. Granted, most branded automotive applications are an extension of the campaign website and that’s all. At least with the Z4 application, you can create art and even save it to your photo gallery on the phone to use as wallpaper (see my example to the right. I'm quite the artist, don't you agree?) After you’ve done that you are very likely to delete it like most iPhone automotive applications.

At least it’s nowhere near as bad as the Kia Soul application that only lets you change the car’s color. You shake your phone and the car changes color. Neato!

The issue with branded iPhone applications is making the applications relevant to the user, not the automotive company. BMW tried with this literal interpretation of their campaign and tried to make it playful and savable for later use through the game, but it really is all about the campaign finding a home on the iPhone and less about BMW finding long-term a home on your iPhone.