Posted by Dale Buss on July 30, 2012 10:58 AM
Many car brands may be scrambling and scratching their heads to figure out how to appeal to the elusive and automotively nonchalant Millennial generation, but at least two brands seem to be closer than some of the others.
Kia is bringing back the popular hamster characters for its Soul minicar on the basis of how well the campaign has played with Generation Y. And Chevrolet already is seeing an encouraging interest by twenty-something consumers in its new little Spark model, which is just hitting showrooms at prices as low as below $13,000.
Certainly for the many financially strapped Millennials, Spark's price point has huge appeal — no one is used to seeing cars that inexpensive anymore, especially not one that has Spark's adequate infotainment system and four doors.
Chevy is aiming its marketing directly at the Gen Y cohort with, for instance, colors with names like Jalapeno and Techno Pink; a major platform on MTV-owned websites and social platforms such as Facebook; and a marketing launch campaign that will include videos of Spark from other countries where it has been sold for a while now.
Michael Sprague, Kia's U.S. CMO, told Ad Age that Kia didn't want to become "known as the hamster brand." That's in part why Kia has diversified its marketing platform lately, including a high-profile partnership with NBA star Blake Griffin.
But as three previous hamster-based campaigns for Soul kept boosting sales of the car and awareness and overall sales of the Kia brand, Sprague stopped resisting the animatronic little guys who like to indulge in hip-hop. And the brand has continued to successfully tie in the mascots with what Sprague called the four pillars of Millennials' lifestyle: music, sports, pop culture and the "connected life."
"There are no bad ideas" in advertising as long as the work, Sprague told Ad Age. "After all, we came up with hamsters."