I am not sure if anyone else has seen the new Kia Commercial for the 2012 Soul. The Hamsters are back, this time spawning dance battles with alien robots to LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" in an effort to "Share some Soul", the title of Kia's new campaign. Now while I love all of the things listed, Hamsters and LMFAO preferably, I still think the commercial is a little ridiculous, but the one thing it does do (as it is supposed to) is make you remember. I am not sure I will be buying a Kia Soul due to dancing Hamsters, but it helps you remember Kia in general and when the time comes to research your next new car, then Kia will be in the front of your mind, simply because of the Hamsters.
Other masters of ridiculous branding campaigns that have turned into pop culture references include two of Geico's campaigns, first is the Gecko campaign which at this point I think has been running since I was born, but everyone knows it. The second Geico campaign, is the "So Easy a Caveman Could Do It", which was so successful it actually spawned a extremely short lived sitcom. Now when does that happen? My favorite though and the most recent campaign that comes to mind with this great tactic of ridiculous stuff to put in a commercial and make it work, is the "Mayhem" campaign by Allstate. I am sorry, I know that this Mayhem does all sorts of really bad stuff, but I love it! "Shakey, Shakey" I mean come on, who wrote this, it is fantastic. Or the latest Fancy Feast campaign, I am still not sure how the campaign has anything to do with feeding a cat, but the "Storybook Wedding" commercials are definitely to die for. They tell the story of this couple who gets a new house and the guy buys the girl a cute little white kitten with a collar that says "Will You Marry Us" on the tag (spoiler alert: she says yes). The following series of commercials follows the couple and kitten on the adventure of planning a wedding and going on honeymoons all while showing you the kitten growing up and somehow being an integral part of these situations, such as wedding planning...Weird, but it caught my attention so well that I had to go to YouTube and watch the whole series.
So I understand what the Kia corporation is going for. They are trying to grab new and returning customers through the power of real entertainment. If you think about this, it is brilliant. The campaign keeps the viewer interested whether it be for the comedy of Dancing Hamsters (that can drive mind you), the fabulous music compliments of LMFAO that makes people want to get up and dance, or the fact that this commercial could spawn a series of commercials, all promoting the same product, but giving new story lines through the course of the model year. The costs of keeping a campaign like this going have to be within reason as you are taking things you have already created for the initial commercial(s) and expanding on them with the same resources.
Many companies might be too scared to do a campaign like this, completely out of their comfort zone. For some companies it could possibly never work. But as society continues to change and the new generation comes in to take over jobs held by the "Baby Boomers", I am positive we will start seeing more of this type of advertising. If your company hasn't started a refreshing branding campaign in a while, it is definitely time to look into starting a new one. Branding is the most important part of a marketing campaign. Without establishing WHO you are as a brand, it is difficult to determine your target audience and how to reach them. I am not saying here that Allstate thinks that they are a dark and sarcastic brand making fun of the horrible incidents that plague people in life, but at least you can see they don't take themselves TOO seriously and have a good sense of humor. It connects to the audience and makes them a more personable company all around. Sometimes some of the craziest ideas out there (i.e. Dancing Hamsters who drive fighting off alien robots who are trying to take over earth, by having a "battle" to a popular song) have a long lasting appeal that keeps people talking years after the campaign has ended...on that note...It's time to make the donuts! And grab myself another iced coffee :)
Please click on the links below to see a commercial from the mentioned above blog. You can also search for more of these crazy ads on YouTube using the description provided below.