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Kia is NOT sorry for party rocking

These Kia Soul hamsters are definitely a thing. But what are they? Gangstas? Frat boys? Shameless Alvin & The Chipmunks knockoffs? These are the questions of our time.

Created by ad agency David&Goliath, the hamsters debuted in a commercial 2 years ago to make the point that the Kia Soul is different from ordinary “hamster wheels.” Here’s the first time the hamsters showed up in a commercial, in a spot called “A New Way to Roll.” The song in this commercial is “Fort Knox” by GoldFish.

Next, the hamsters morphed into gansta rappers in a spot called “This or That” and set to the 1992 rap hit “The Choice is Yours (Revisited)” by New York rappers Black Sheep. This ad shamelessly exploits and appropriates urban culture, but the hamsters look like they’re having so much fun that it almost feels OK. Also, this commercial gives more respect to Black Sheep than anyone has in a while—notice the hamster playing their album on an iPod. It feels to me like there’s even a little nod to “sweding,” as the hamsters mock other people’s cars using props like cardboard boxes. I think it’s the strongest of the 3 ads so far.

And now the hamsters are frat boys, emerging amid some robot war-game to dance to LMAFO’s “Party Rock Anthem” in an ad titled “Share Some Soul.” This commercial debuted recently during the VMAs and has been airing since then.

This last commercial seems to be the one with widest appeal, racking up 1.6 million plays on YouTube so far.

It’s also another example of a musical act using a commercial as a marketing vehicle. The press release from Kia even quotes someone from Interscope, LMFAO’s label, saying, “Together with the entire Kia Motors team we devised an integrated program tapping into the band’s cultural phenomenon with their song of the summer ‘Party Rock Anthem.’”

That’s how rock-and-roll works today. I don’t really get it, since this song was doing just fine before this commercial, and the commercial kind of ruins it. It’s definitely a better deal for Kia than for LMFAO, who have basically lost whatever “edge” they had.

I don’t know where I’m going with that argument, so let’s just skip to the end and blame the Alvin & The Chipmunks movies for all of this.

Who created this campaign?

Agency: David&Goliath, under chief creative officer David Angelo. More info.

Who signed off on it?

Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, Kia Motors America

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising

One comment

  1. moe whelton says:

    i have to say I LOVE your Kia commercials w/ the hansters!! Those ads are the kind of ads i can watch over and over again and NEVER get sick of them! Keep doing those same type of ads for the Soul, DON’T ever change them. You guys really “rock” for coming up with those!Just so you know,too, I have hamsters myself and i joke and say that ever since you started having hamsters in your Soul commercials, it would be funny if they woukd happen to start bustin’ moves! LOL Well like the ad says “everybody have a good time”!

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