Kia gives Spectra sedan $12 mil coming-out party

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Kia Motors America launches its fourth model, the Spectra sedan, with a $12 million budget in the first month of a network TV and cable push.

In addition, the Spectra will get exposure on spot TV, plus a single billboard along Interstate Highway 405 in Los Angeles. The board's headline will be changed every two weeks, said Skip Sullivan, partner-chief operating officer of David & Goliath, Los Angeles, which won the $92 million account last fall without a review.

NO UGLY STICK

The current headline continues the brand's irreverence: "Finally, a car under $11,000 that didn't get whacked by the ugly stick." David & Goliath's first spot broke last week; the shop handles media planning but contracts with Optimum Media, Los Angeles, for buying.

The same male actor appears in both spots and is "in love with the car," said David Angelo, partner and chief creative officer at the agency.

In the first spot, he admires the car while walking through the parking lot of a drive-in theater. He gets into the Spectra and is grabbed and kissed by the female passenger before she realizes it's not her boyfriend. In the other, he appears to be driving the car, but it's on a tractor trailer truck.

"Introducing the 2000 Kia Spectra. Maybe you should get your own," voice-over says. The tag, "Finally a sport car for under $11,000 you'd actually want," pokes fun at other cars in the category.

The target is 60% male, mainly single, image-conscious, with an average age of 28. That differs from owners of Kia's top-selling model, the Sephia small sedan, with 60% female ownership and a slightly older average age.

Kia expects to sell up to 15,000 Spectras this year, said Dick Macedo, Kia VP-marketing and sales. Spectra went on sale April 23, and 323 cars were sold last month, he said.

SALES GOAL: UP 20%

The marketer expects its overall 2000 Kia sales to climb by 20% to about 160,000 units, from 135,000 in 1999, he added.

Kia terminated Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco -- its first ad agency -- in November. Mr. Macedo said then that Goldberg Moser couldn't support Kia's anticipated growth. The agency was awarded the account in 1993, the year before Kia started its U.S. rollout.

David & Goliath, a two-man start-up when it won the account last fall, expects to have 40 employees by week's end -- up from 30 last week. Among the new hires is Flettene Parks-Neal, partner and media director, from TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., where she held the same post. "We will be a full-service agency," said Mr. Angelo.

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