Kia Taps Celebs for Super Bowl Spot Based on Their Social Graphs

Motley Crue, Chuck Liddell and Adriana Lima Selected for Their Social-Media Footprint

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Securing the services of a supermodel to wear minimal clothing is standard for a Super Bowl advertiser, but hiring her based on her social-media credentials is a sign of the times.

To help make its spot go viral, Kia Motors chose Adriana Lima, Motley Crue and MMA fighter Chuck Liddell to appear in its ad largely on the basis of their social graphs and the perceived power of their fan bases. In the ad, the Sandman pours too much sand in the eyes of a sleeping man and makes his dream world a manifestation of his deepest desires to drive around a raceway and be cheered on by legions by bikini-clad women.

"This year we were constantly trying to figure out how to build advocates for our spot before it launched on Sunday, and we recognized social media as growing by leaps and bounds," said Michael Sprague, Kia Motors Corp.'s VP-marketing and communications. "What better way than to tap into a celebrity's fan base?"

Motley Crue has 1.5 million fans on its Facebook page, with an estimated reach of 195 million users, according to Kia 's projections. Individual band members Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil also have sizable personal followings. Ms. Lima is a substantial brand in her own right, with 1.2 million likes on her Facebook page, while Mr. Liddell has 725,000 likes.

"If you look at Motley Crue, the band is a brand, and so are the individuals. Tommy Lee is a well-known musical celebrity; it's tapping into the band's social network as well as the individual's social network," said David Angelo, chief creative officer at Kia 's agency, David & Goliath. Mr. Angelo noted that the target audience for the spot is Gen-X males. Mr. Angelo also said he's hoping that excitement about Mr. Liddell will motivate a more general category of UFC fans to post about the spot on their social networks.

Under the terms of their agreement with Kia , the celebrities were also required to tweet using the purchased Twitter trend #biggame and post about the spot on their Facebook pages on the day the full spot was released (Feb. 2) as well as after the game. Mr. Sprague said Motley Crue had gone "above and beyond" the scope of the agreement -- the band posted a link to the 15-second teaser featuring only Ms. Lima on Jan. 28, and it generated 521 likes and 55 comments in a two-day period.

Kia 's 60-second spot will air in the fourth quarter of the game on Sunday.

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