A 'Year-End Sales Event' Ad You May Actually Enjoy Watching

Kia's Holiday Spot Features Dancing Dealer, '80s Music

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Steel yourself for that never-ending barrage of automaker year-end close-out sales.
A laugh-out-loud commercial shows a hyperkinetic Kia car salesman dancing on the showroom floor to 'Maniac,' the theme song for the 1983 film 'Flashdance.'
A laugh-out-loud commercial shows a hyperkinetic Kia car salesman dancing on the showroom floor to 'Maniac,' the theme song for the 1983 film 'Flashdance.'

Yes, it's the time of year when -- try as you might -- there's no getting away from those car companies and regional dealer ad groups that swamp TV's ad pods in a race to push unsold inventory out the door. Automakers and their regional dealer-ad associations spent a jaw-dropping $731.6 million in national and spot TV last December alone, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

But if you have to view the same spots over and over (and you will), the one to watch will be from Kia Motors America. It stands out from the usual fare (think: Lexus' "December to remember") and will be one of the first ads out of the gate: The energetic and entertaining 60-second TV commercial pushing the automaker's "KiaFest" breaks Nov. 23.

'Like he's never sold before'
The laugh-out-loud commercial, created by independent David and Goliath, Los Angeles, shows a hyperkinetic Kia car salesman dancing on the showroom floor to "Maniac," the theme song for the 1983 film "Flashdance." But any mention of dancing has been changed to selling, with the song's words changed to "he's selling like he's never sold before."

Kia's Ian Beavis, VP-marketing, told Advertising Age the "Maniac" song has a multigenerational appeal. "This is totally different from what everyone else is doing that our message gets through," he said. "You can't bore people into buying a car."

Kia last year for its end-of-year push ran a spot showing its salesman ushering autos out of the showroom while singing "So Long, Farewell" from the "Sound of Music." This year's spot will be backed through the end of the year with national TV buys and local buys by Kia's regional dealer ad associations, Mr. Beavis said.

This has been a rough-and-tumble year for the auto industry, with total new-vehicle sales down by 2.5% through October to 13.5 million units vs. a year ago, according to Automotive News.

But Kia has managed a 6.3% increase in the first 10 months to 257,228 vehicles vs. the same period a year ago.

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