From time to time, we see something in the media that we may or may not totally agree with. We’re particularly sensitive to news and promotions concerning the brand we represent, Kia. Several weeks ago, the Korean automaker released a TV spot for the Soul EV, which to the surprise of no one stars the now-famous hamsters. However the direction that commercial went has surprised many, including us.
Most of the time, when an ad as bizarre as this one comes out, we let other people do the talking. That’s certainly been happening. We’ve kept our eye on Twitter, and the ad has people talking, which some might say makes it an instant success. However most of the discussion we’re seeing is in this vein:
This Kia soul commercial with the hamsters is making me 100% uncomfortable
— Rachel Schmitt (@RachelMSchmitt) August 25, 2014
@Kia I told you guys not to do it…but nah y’all ain’t listen. This is (by far) the creepiest car commercial that I’ve ever seen.
— Trey Guilford (@_MyFather) September 3, 2014
Now we have to step in and try to retake the reins of this discussion because these folks and many others are focusing on the part of the ad that is least concerning. No, we won’t be talking about the combination of sex appeal and hamsters, as that is not surprising in the least. Really, it reaches the logical conclusion of most automotive advertising campaigns. Plus, it’s a tactic that was already used in the previous ad for the new slimmed-down Soul with the skinny tuxedoed rodents.
What you should be wondering about instead is twofold. First, why are there human-sized bipedal hamsters and pet-sized quadruped hamsters in the same universe? Second, where are all the people?
With the first question, it only gets stranger the longer you think about it. Why do these intelligent people-sized hamsters have smaller hamsters as pets? We see that the scientists not only own one, but they later go to a pet store and purchase several more. Our previous understanding of the Soul universe was that hamsters simply were people-sized, but the fact that smaller ones still exist in this ad is troubling.
As a sub-question, why is it that only male hamsters seem to be our size to begin with? Why is it only female hamsters that are smaller and sold in stores as pets? If these two kinds of hamsters do exist in the same universe together with the same technology that anthropomorphizes pets into people, and if that technology is also what converts a Kia Soul into a Soul EV, then why wasn’t the Soul EV released at the same time as the original Soul (when people-sized hamsters first appeared)?
All of this contemplation brings us to the second question which again is: where are the human beings? They were definitely present in past Soul commercials, either as people working out in gyms, attendees at an opera, or crowds screaming in adulation as the hamsters get out of their signature ride. Yet in the Soul EV ad, there are no real people anywhere.
Pondering, we think back to the first ever Kia Soul commercial.
Once again, there are no people anywhere. Here, there are just hamsters, and if you’ve forgotten and thought that only hamsters drive the Kia Soul, this original spot will set the record straight. The rest of the hamsters are stuck, spinning in their wheels while those who are ascendant cruise around in the Soul. Watch those wheels spin and understand: everyone is a hamster.
That’s actually pretty encouraging because it confirms that this is some separate hamster universe. Whatever weird implications the Soul EV marketing campaign has, it’s all going on in a different plane of existence.
The 2015 Soul EV is expected to be available later this fall. Pricing has been announced. If you like Maroon Five’s new single “Animals,” visit this link to download it for free. If you want to discuss the deeper meaning of other Kia campaigns – are the Griffin Force heroes, villains, or something in between? – or if you just want to check out a Kia, visit us any time at Leith Autopark Kia in Wendell, just minutes from anywhere in the Raleigh area.