Kia comes back from the country to promote its revamped Sorento

Who: Kia Canada and Innocean Worldwide Canada for creative and media.

What: “The drive is yours,” a new English and French campaign for the redesigned Sorento.

When & Where: The campaign’s online and social elements debuted on Jan. 18, followed by TV on Jan. 25. The campaign includes online display, search, social, and email. It’s being supported with a significant media buy—basically, if you’ve watched network TV any time in the past three weeks, you’ve seen this Kia ad.

Why: The three-row Sorento has been a key vehicle in Kia’s SUV lineup since 2002, and has been significantly updated for 2021. The redesign is expected to appeal to a new audience (Kia declined to say what that audience looks like), meaning that it is treating it like the launch of a new nameplate.

How: The company said the creative is intended to communicate the vehicle’s “boldly reimagined” nature. The campaign included pre-launch communications introducing the Sorento’s revamped interior that drove to a pre-launch site on the Kia website.

Jeff Norton, Innocean’s senior director of strategic planning, said that familiar auto marketing phrases like “all new” and “completely redesigned” didn’t go far enough to convey the radical changes that have been made to the Sorento. “Our launch campaign celebrates Sorento’s boldly reimagined nature,” he said.

The 30-second anchor spot, “Back to the city,” shows a man at his home in the country when he receives a text notification informing him that a scheduled conference call has been changed to an in-person meeting. Cue visuals of the man racing to the meeting in his Sorento, soundtracked by the song “Run Wild” from Thutmose.

The spot showcases the Sorento’s interior, its 281 HP turbo-powered engine and blind-spot view monitor. The payoff comes as we see the man walking into his office (after being lucky enough to snag a spot right out front) while wearing his country galoshes. Other spots in the campaign are designed to showcase specific features such as its 10.5-inch touchscreen display using Apple CarPlay, and collision-avoidance assist.

Chris Powell