Kia is working hard to remake the image of its Sedona minivan. While the exterior has been reworked to look more like a crossover, the marketing department is busy convincing everyone that the vehicle handles more like a sports car, while still being roomy and comfortable. At least that’s the message in this commercial Kia has been running.
The spot opens with dramatic music, the sound of an engine at full throttle, and different test drivers all clad in white suits and black helmets. There’s another version of the commercial where interestingly enough, the test drivers are wearing white helmets. People have been comparing that version to the Stig from Top Gear. Perhaps that’s why the helmet color was changed, although the resemblance is still strong.
From the commercial, consumers are to understand that the new Sedona isn’t “what you expect” or constitutes “a compromise.” Kia even openly admits the minivan isn’t a sports car, but states “it’s a Sedona.” Essentially, the message is that the vehicle is really in a category of its own. This kind of thing has been tried successfully by BMW, which still insists it doesn’t makes SUVs but SAVs (sport activity vehicles).
An interesting move Kia made was to feature the different test drivers in the van engaged in various activities. One is driving the Sedona hard, but another is trying to get comfortable (presumably to sleep), one is playing with a tablet, and the other is fiddling with the navigation. Apparently that conveys the message that the vehicle is engaging to drive, but isn’t thrilling for the passengers.
Did using the Stig’s likeness get Kia in trouble with the BBC? If so, the whole spat unfolded in private, because no public information exists about it. The commercial is a brilliant way to appeal to car enthusiasts who need three rows of seating and a vehicle that’s easy to get kids into and out of, but who are still craving a more exhilarating experience behind the wheel than a Town & Country can deliver (which isn’t much).