The Kia Hamsters Are Back With a Slimmed-Down Look, Jamming to Lady Gaga

Critters Will Return to TV During the MTV Video Music Awards This Weekend

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The Kia hamsters are back -- with a new slimmed-down look to promote the 2014 Soul. Called "Totally Transformed," the latest iteration of the Korean automaker's ad campaign is underpinned by a new spot that bows during the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday.

The ad is set to the song "Applause" by Lady Gaga and will be timed during the awards show broadcast to appear immediately after the songstress' first-ever live performance of the tune. (It will be a 60-second version of the above ad).

Kia's longtime agency, Los Angeles-based David & Goliath is behind the campaign. Unlike many of the other major hamster spots, was directed in-house by D&G Executive Creative Director Colin Jeffery.

"The hamsters always have their paws on the pulse of pop culture," said Mr. Jeffery in a statement. "With the help of Lady Gaga, some current fashion trends and our friends at MPC VFX, we introduce a sleeker, sexier and more sophisticated Soul. The hamsters don't look too shabby themselves."

In the spot, we see critters jog on the beach, hit the gym for jump-roping and at one point, are seen getting their "fur done" in a salon while flipping through magazines. Wired, Rolling Stone and Men's Health titles get a little shoutout.

The campaign will hit 18,000 movie screens nationwide on August 30, and other elements include billboards, digital, social media and experiential pushes.

Kia has been investing heavily in marketing and was a standout performer during the recession -- though growth could be stalling now. It was on Ad Age's list of top 10 fastest-growing ad spenders last year, jumping 27% to $637 million in the U.S. alone.

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