Kia scores an advertising Koup—without saying a word

Do we even need someone speaking in a commercial anymore? Lately, some of the most creative, compelling ads don’t say one word.

For example, the ad (below) for the Kia Soul just won the Automotive Ad of the Year award.

If Kia cars are as good as Kia advertising, maybe we should all go buy a Kia. What makes their advertising so hot?

  1. A creative, attention-grabbing visual—hamsters on wheels
  2. Funky music that makes you feel good
  3. A great tagline—Kia Soul. A new way to roll

They used the power of three to break through the cluttered world of auto advertising with creativity and (dare I say?) memorability. Oh yeah, and they won an award for advertising, won awards for their car, and boosted sales.

Kia’s latest ad for their new Forte Koup uses the same formula—the power of three. This time, they use:

  1. In-your-face video bursts of their car in action as their visual.
  2. Up-tempo motivating music
  3. A series of phrases to lead you through to the tagline

Half rocket scientist…Half supermodel…The new Forte Koup…One hot ride.

Kia’s not the only one having success creating killer ads with no one speaking. CSX has an equally compelling commercial and they didn’t even use music. Watch and see.

How did they get us? They appealed to one thing all of us have in common—we breathe.

At first I thought it was an asthma drug commercial and I almost turned away. They probably planned on that, so what they did was intersperse their message on plain, words-only screens in between breaths.

Just as Kia draws us in with funny hamsters on wheels, CSX draws us in with powerful audio and visual and snags us with a relevant and resonant message:

CSX trains move 1 ton of freight 436 miles on 1 gallon of fuel. Less fuel = less emissions. (Note the switch to exhale right before emissions.) Good news for anyone…who breathes.

CSX. How tomorrow moves.

People say actions speak louder than words. In advertising, Kia and CSX are proving that’s true.

The words in their ads aren’t loud at all. But the music is and the action is, and that gives those words impact they probably wouldn’t have had if spoken alone.

The young audience Kia is targeting certainly wouldn’t be impressed with a typical voiceover car commercial. And CSX—a company consumers don’t have any interaction with—had to do something that would keep people in the room.

The lesson for advertising teams everywhere is: Once you have the message you want to deliver, decide how to have the greatest impact for your audience. How are you going to keep people in the room?


Some advertising and copywriting blogs for you to check out: AdFreak, Men with Pens, and Beyond Madison Avenue.


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