Kia Misses Opportunity for More Cowbell

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber

Capitalizing on the buzz surrounding its Super Bowl ad, “Walken Closet” with Christopher Walken, Kia showed hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Optima to assembled members of the media.

Some automakers hire live musicians to perform during auto show press conferences, including some pretty big names. To burnish its credentials as a youth-oriented brand, Kia had a decent rock band made of teenage students studying at the School of Rock.

(Maybe it says something about today’s music, but the oldest kid in the band was 18 and every song the band played was a hit before he was born. T-Rex’s “Bang A Gong” was probably released before some of their grandparents had met. I think the most recent song was Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”, which came out in 1993.)

A few minutes later, I realized that marketers for the Korean automaker missed a great opportunity to further hype its midsize sedan.

Ronnie Schreiber
Ronnie Schreiber

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, the original 3D car site.

More by Ronnie Schreiber

Join the conversation
16 of 32 comments
  • RHD RHD on Feb 17, 2016

    If I played in a rock band, "Bang A Gong" would definitely be in the repertoire. A higher probability is to get hit by lightning... let's admit it, we all imagine we're Mick Jagger at one point or another, while rinsing out the shampoo.

    • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Feb 17, 2016

      On a Saturday night in the East Quad in Ann Arbor in 1972, a friend observed to me, following someone's spontaneous performance in the lobby, "why does every drunk teenager think they're Mick Jagger?"

  • Xeranar Xeranar on Feb 17, 2016

    I'm not an IR expert but the main issue with oil prices is that banks can't foreclose on overdue wells without taking the equipment and finding a new buyer. So pretty much they have two options, get in the oil business by taking the whole affair OR let frackers go forward. Combined with the Iran deal clearly hurdles, Russia going for broke, and Venezuela in desperate need of oil sales we're likely not to see high prices return for atleast a couple years. Of course, this hasn't stopped or reversed the trend of electric/hybrid buying. It's hit a point of self-sustaining cultural awareness combined with technological acceptance. ICE's days are long but numbered. Now on topic: Eh, this smacked of cheap advertising using the kids instead of an actual band and going straight for the bland white middle-age guy response of non-descript rock hits from 30 years ago.

  • Hubcap Hubcap on Feb 17, 2016

    These types of ads/events are interesting to me because I always wonder how much influence Christoper Walken (or any celebrity) has over a large purchase such as a car. For other less expensive things, appliances, cologne, clothes, etc., I'd think a celebrity spokesperson is a better choice because less analysis goes into the buying decision. I don't know if getting exact measurements for something likes this is even possible but it would be interesting to ask people who come to look at a Kia how much influence a celebrity spokesperson had.

    • See 3 previous
    • Mikedt Mikedt on Feb 18, 2016

      I don't think Walken is going to make you buy a Kia over any other car, but he probably makes you stop channel hopping/fast forwarding through the commercial. And simply seeing the commercial is half the battle anymore.


    Maybe Hyundai could use Walken for their Genesis commercials. The Creepy Continental Walken of course. "More shampanyuh"?

    • See 6 previous
    • NoGoYo NoGoYo on Feb 18, 2016

      @NoGoYo A fellow New Wave fan! I love me some New Wave. One of the best eras of popular music.