Logically, it should have been rats.
In 2009, Kia rolled out a commercial for its entry into the “boxy but hip” auto market, the Soul. The spot featured neighborhood streets, freeways and downtown roads filled with hamsters scampering on exercise wheels.
Running fast. Getting nowhere. The definition of a “rat race.” Clearly, Kia and/or the commercial products concluded rats would be icky ambassadors for an auto company. So … hamsters.
All of the rodents in the debut commercial — including the hipsters who breeze past their brethren in a red Soul — appear the way the Great Hamster created them: naked. That would change a year later, when the campaign went all “word up.” Suddenly the hamsters and their environment were fully anthropomorphicized. They were all hip-hop, chillin’ in their cube-like ride (not to be confused with the Nissan Cube. Or the Honda Element or Toyota Scion).
Kia must have been pleased with the public response to this ratcheting-up of the ad campaign, because the hamsters are still around. And they’ve raised their game. This time, they pull a stunt similar to the Energizer Bunny, invading a commercial that, at first, seems off-topic. But it’s not. Kia, already targeting a hip-hop demographic, strikes another part of this generation — military science fiction computer games such as Halo and Gears of War.
The graphics in this spot build and build, like a Broadway dance number. But our favorite moment is at 0:26, when one of the mechs picks up the beat.
So, why are we showing you this? ‘Cause we can. And it’s rad.