By on August 31, 2012

Your humble author was charmed by the facelifted Kia Soul when I drove it last year. It’s a solid product, but its runaway popularity in the segment is at least partially due to a group of hamsters who rapped along to an old Black Sheep song.

After confronting robots with an LMFAO tune, the hamsters took a sabbatical — but they are back.

This newest Hamstar ad doesn’t quite have the charm of the original Black Sheep joint, but it’s fun enough to serve as a reasonable sequel to that stellar original. It’s interesting to see the hamsters move from portraying wannabe urban youth to acting like club kids. Perhaps it’s an attempt by Kia to respond to criticism that the original ad was nothing but CGI blackface. It’s a shame, really.

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25 Comments on “This Is What We’re Waiting For — The Hamstars Return...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    “Nothing but CGI blackface”

    If it wasn’t, that was how it came across to me. A bunch of young guys who live in an older part of town. Even if it wasn’t thinly-veiled “black”, that culture just seems doomed to the lowest rungs on the ladder – unemployable, anti-social wanna-be “thugs” who talk the talk but couldn’t walk the walk if they tried.

    I think they should have been wearing slacks and ties – or at least Dockers and Polo shirts… ;)

    Is that reading too much into it? Perhaps…

    I guess it’s an age thing, but personally, I can’t stand the whole urban hip hop stuff – it doesn’t appear to be a road to success.

    • 0 avatar
      Adamatari

      Let me just suggest here you never listen to any Hendrix, or for that matter listen to or look at any album by a rock band between 1965-1980.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        I beg your pardon – I did listen to just about everything from 1964 on. I liked it at the time, grew up with R&R, but for a list of favorites that I still isten to, I moved on.

        Give me credit! I do refer to the Soul as a “Hamster wagon”, so that’s something, huh? In any event, that’s how I feel now.

        Besides, every time I make a comment on things related to pop culture, it’s pretty much tongue-in-cheek…

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      I don’t know what Sinatra needed to hang out with all those gangsters and thugs.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      “I guess it’s an age thing, but personally, I can’t stand the whole urban hip hop stuff – it doesn’t appear to be a road to success.”

      I would encourage you to go to any top-tier college and see what the folks who are on the “road to success” are listening to.

      I predict that you will find a lot of “urban hip-hop stuff”, and that it will likely be more prevalent than traditional rock music.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        I do have to agree with what you say. “Traditional” rock and roll died many years ago. Colleges: Ditto.

        I never meant my comment to be a “get off my lawn” attitude, I just don’t see the appeal of that type of music – must be a generational thing, which may be why also so many young people gravitate to country music.

        Back on topic, the original commercial, I’ll admit, got the message across the best, the robot/video game – not so much.

        This new ad? Me thinks it jumped the shark – too much. Ineffective to me.

        Last spring I got to drive a Kia Soul and I was impressed how far CUVs came from our 2002 CR-V. Huge difference.

    • 0 avatar
      BaldTireReport

      Are you kidding me…
      Listen to the SONG. It says “you can get with this, or you can get with that.”. Now since it is a hip hop song your going to place the visuals in an appropriate setting. I don’t often see suited business men listening to that. Also, Kia is trying to sell their cars to a younger crowd, not stuffy black tie types. The only reason to call it racist is because you (meaning the viewer, not just you) SEE and look for racism.

      I LOVE THE HAMSTERS!

  • avatar

    The whole hamstar thing got old right after the Black Sheep commercial. They need to come up with something new.

    I prefer the Orkin Commercials. I’d like to make one with the roach doing a burnout in my car.

  • avatar
    70Cougar

    Black Sheep was (were?) from North Carolina and they mocked Gangster rap.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I thought it was pretty good then a co-worker showed me this video with Christopher Walken doing the same tune, and damn! Now, that’s funny right there.

  • avatar
    multicam

    From the first time I saw a hamster Kia ad I wanted to find the marketing executive who gave that a “go” and punch him in the face.

    These ads make me think they think I’m stupid. What the hell is the appeal?

  • avatar
    mikenem

    This is why I don’t watch TV. Each commercial is wackier than the last and even more insulting. Are they selling cars to third graders? Address me as an adult and present your product with some class for god’s sake.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Gawdam Furries…

    I do not miss my cable subscription. No sir.

  • avatar
    redav

    That ad does nothing for me. At least the original was entertaining.

    And if the original was called CGI blackface, that implies there’s something wrong with it. Putting it on display is no worse an insult than the fact it exists in the first place.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    As an owner of not one but TWO Honda Elements, I was mightily amused with the original Kia Soul hamster ad that made playful jabs at driving a toaster. Heck, we Element wackos even refer to our cars as toasters.

    Last month, I rented a Soul for a few days and drove it on the Turquoise Trail from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and on the high road to Taos. I loved it! It’s a great little vehicle and if one of the Elements got hit by a meteorite, I wouldn’t even hesitate to drive to my nearest Kia dealer for a Soul. Hamsters rock, even to this Baby Boomer. Why, I just might wear my ballcap backwards when I go out grocery shopping this afternoon.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      I had a kia soul rental recently and I thought the front seat didn’t go back far enough and that the left part of the footwell was extremely poorly designed. After 2 hour in the car, I could barely stand to drive it anymore. Other than that, I thought it was an outstanding car. I also rented a kia sedona recently which suffered from the same issues, but otherwise was also outstanding.

    • 0 avatar
      strafer

      Good to know that another Element owner is impressed with Soul.
      It’s on the short list when I need to replace the E.

  • avatar
    dejal1

    Not the “Hamsters” best work, but “Hamsters” none the less. Maybe because they are a couple of years older and are trying to grow as artists. Or their record label is pushing them into another direction.

    I watch the 1st 2 ads at least once a week. It did take awhile for the 2nd ad to grow on me.

    They always put a smile on my face, but I’m a simpleton.

    What’s the big deal? If the Drive By Truckers can do a STP commercial, the Hamsters can certainly do a Kia commercial.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sure the DBT are thrilled to have their music as the soundtrack to a Richard Petty commercial. BTW, the voiceovers on the ads that don’t feature Petty were done by DBT member Mike Cooley. Someone at the ad agency liked their music and I guess since a couple of DBT songs feature Cooley more or less talking, someone liked his voice. Probably works cheaper than Peter Coyote.

      The Truckers are deeply steeped in car culture. How many other bands today even mention cars?

      “… it ain’t revved till the rods are thrown”.

      I put the STP ads up on Cars In Depth and I get folks visiting the site everyday after searching for the Truckers and STP.

  • avatar
    dejal1

    I’ve always been fond of Zip City where it ends with:

    Zip City it’s a good thing that they built a wall around you
    Zip up to Tennessee then zip back down to Alabama
    I got 350 heads on a 305 engine
    I get ten miles to the gallon
    I ain’t got no good intentions

    It is true that cars are a central fixture in their music. But, the music also give you a good idea on how poor whites live in a single wide on the wrong side of the tracks.

    I don’t see the Richard Petty version too much anymore. But when I think of DBT I think gray, overcast skys and those commercials certainly are.

    • 0 avatar

      Zip City is a great song, but I don’t think any 17 year old boy had this kind of perspective.

      Maybe it’s the twenty-six mile drive from Zip City to Colbert Heights
      Keeps my mind clean
      Gets me through the night
      Maybe you’re just a destination, a place for me to go
      A way to keep from having to deal with my seventeen-year-old mind all alone
      Keep your drawers on, girl, it ain’t worth the fight
      By the time you drop them I’ll be gone
      And you’ll be right where they fall the rest of your life

      I think that Decoration Day is as good as Faulkner.


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