Kia gets Soul-ful denouement & 24 hookup

To launch the new Soul model, Publicis & ZO follow viral TV push and co-branded content with a spy-themed online game.

Kia Canada is launching a new bilingual campaign targeting the young and hip across Canada today with TV, newspaper and trade mag ads, as well as a co-branded spy-themed online video game introducing the new Soul model.

Using television to provoke YouTubesque viral response, 30-sec TV spots ‘Mob’, ‘Cabin’ and ‘Well’ launch today following a two-week national teaser campaign of three unbranded 15-second spots, featuring an unsettling close-up of a character staring intently into the camera – seemingly peering into the viewer’s living room – and directing viewers to the brand’s microsite (, and in Quebec), a move that has since led to a spike in traffic.

With the release of the three branded spots today, the audience discovers the soul-peerers are part of larger cinematic stories that showcase Kia’s new vehicle. In ‘Well,’ for example, viewers encounter a man whose friend has fallen into a well in the middle of nowhere and sets off on an arduous journey to get help, but falls short when he is distracted by the allure of a Soul parked out front of a diner where, ironically, policemen sit inside.

The teaser campaign also included innovative co-branded components in key markets Montreal and Toronto: Kia’s media agency of record, Zenith Optimedia, teamed with Canwest to leverage the return of 24 with Soul teaser visuals preceding exclusive video content from the show and distributed to mobile phones. The Kia Soul/24 partnership continues with a spy-themed online video game at, where would-be secret agents navigate through challenging puzzles, integrated with Soul content. The contest culminates in the giveaway of a Kia Soul in April at Toronto’s Eaton Centre.

‘To speak to a hip urban target you have to communicate in a language they can relate to,’ explains Gary Holme, Publicis’ senior art director and campaign co-creator. ‘In this case, we appropriated current influential film genres to entertain and involve an audience that typically rejects corporate messaging.’

Other campaign elements include national newspaper and trade magazine ads, dealership POS, nationwide dealership special events, such as a flagship OOH property in Montreal, where Soul made its Canadian debut last month at the Montreal Auto Show, and Toronto, where the Soul will appear at the 2009 Canadian International Autoshow this weekend.

Zenith Optimedia and Astral Media are also driving contest-themed outdoor, online, radio and TV presence in the Quebec market, leading up to an event and Soul giveaway on the night of Britney Spears’ concert at Montreal’s Bell Centre on March 20.