Kia, the longest-running major partner of the Australian Open since 2002, highlighted its new 2021 Seltos SUV at the two-week tournament with a host of immersive activations held at the “Seltos Studios,” where guests can experience deconstructed elements of the car’s design.
The studio’s exterior wall is covered with the same built-in Bose speakers and neon light features found in the Kia Seltos. Visitors can play a digital tennis game called “Beat the Beat” where they must stomp tennis balls to accelerate a virtual Seltos as they learn more about the car.
Other experiential activations from the car maker include the Kia “Junior Drive,” where kids can ride mini Kia go-karts to assist with the early development of driving skills. Fans can also go inside the Kia Stinger and snap a selfie with an augmented reality (AR) image of Rafael Nadal.
Nadal, who became a Kia brand ambassador in 2004, is also featured in Kia’s social media #HitItChallenge. The carmaker released a video to its YouTube showing Nadal try to hit tennis balls through the backseat windows of various Kia cars then watch videos of fans recreating the challenge.
A purpose-driven component, the Kia Ball Drive, lets visitors win tennis balls from last year’s Australian Open at a ball vending machine located on the tournament compound. Proceeds will go toward Australian junior tennis development.
In addition to multiple consumer touch points, Kia will supply 120 of its latest vehicles to transport tennis players, VPs, officials and media during the tournament. Kia is also partnering with Uber to give free Seltos rides to app users within the Melbourne central business district heading to Melbourne Park.
Kia doubled down on marketing for a cause when it debuted an emotional 60-second Super Bowl spot against homelessness. The spot shows Tulsa, Oklahoma native Josh Jacobs, the Oakland Raiders’ rookie runnerback who grew up homeless, running the streets of Tulsa with an overlay of Jacobs’ voice offering his younger self advice.
On the brand’s transition from funny to heartfelt, Russell Wager, Kia’s US marketing chief told Forbes, “What I looked at was a different way of positioning Kia: as a grown-up brand. It’s our 25th year in the United States. As opposed to just being known for great value, or for the Soul hamsters, the brand and its products are outstanding—not just Telluride, but the other ones too. We’ve started trying to become a bit more about telling the story of the Kia brand and what we stood for.”
Kia donated $1,000 per yard gained during the Super Bowl game to charities helping end youth homelessness, totaling nearing $750,000 in donations.