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"Soulful" Kia Hamsters Hit the Gym to the Sounds of Lady Gaga

kia soul
2014 Kia Soul


Hamsters Hit the Gym to the Sounds of Lady Gaga’s New Single “Applause” for a Makeover that Mirrors the Newfound Refinement of Kia’s Second-Generation Urban Passenger Vehicle

60-second spot will debut minutes after Lady Gaga’s first-ever live performance of “Applause” during Sunday’s broadcast of the MTV Video Music Awards “Totally Transformed” will appear on more than 33,000 movie screens nationwide beginning August 30


IRVINE, CA--August 23, 2013: Since bursting on the scene in 2009, Kia Motors America’s (KMA) portly, brightly clothed hamsters have had their paws on the pulse of pop culture and become some of the most-watched advertising icons of all time. Nearly five years later, the hamsters have slimmed down and slicked their hair back to introduce the world to the latest version of Kia’s most iconic people mover – the all-new 2014 Soul1 – in the “Totally Transformed” campaign set to the new single, “Applause,” from multi-platinum and Grammy Award-winning artist Lady Gaga. The original Soul was the funky car that began Kia’s design-led transformation, and the second generation of the popular urban passenger vehicle is more refined and functional than ever with more room, more available premium features and materials, improved driving dynamics and an instantly recognizable yet thoroughly fresh appearance.

Created by David&Goliath, Kia’s advertising agency of record, “Totally Transformed” can be viewed at before its broadcast debut during the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, August 25. Kia’s newly polished icons will also hit the big screen when the multi-platform campaign expands to more than 33,000 movie screens nationwide on August 30.

“When the first Soul arrived on the scene, everyone at Kia believed we had a hit on our hands but we didn’t realize how big that hit was going to be, and our year-over-year success is a direct result of the hamster commercials entertaining the young and young-at-heart with their baggy clothes, excellent taste in music and slick dance moves,” said Michael Sprague, KMA’s executive vice president of marketing & communications. “Now in its second generation, the Soul maintains its individualistic edge with a fresh take on its iconic design as well as a ‘Totally Transformed’ driving experience, and the hamsters have followed suit by getting fit and developing a new fashion sense that reflects the sophistication of the newly refined Soul.”

Soul Advertising Background With a wide variety of soundtracks ranging from the classic hip-hop track "The Choice Is Yours" by Black Sheep to LMFAO’s smash hit "Party Rock Anthem," previous Soul campaigns positioned the Soul as “A New Way to Roll” and the urban passenger vehicle’s ongoing popularity is a driving force behind increased awareness and consideration for the Kia brand as a whole. Previous spots depicted city and suburban streets inhabited exclusively by hamsters who mindlessly run in place inside their exercise wheels and cleverly compared "This," the funky and uniquely styled Soul, to "That," a number of boring and mundane appliances on wheels, cardboard boxes or hamster wheels.

With more than 20 million views, 2011’s "Share Some Soul" is the third most-watched automotive ad in YouTube history, and later that year, the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame named the hamsters as their first-ever "Rookie of the Year."

“Every year we’re challenged with creating a new and unexpected adventure for the Hamsters, and with the all-new Soul being sleeker, sexier and more sophisticated than ever, we enlisted the help of Lady Gaga, some current fashion trends, and our friends at MPC VFX to make the Hamsters equally as refined and irresistible,” said Colin Jeffery, managing partner/executive creative director, David & Goliath.

All-New 2014 Soul Instantly recognizable yet thoroughly fresh – with more than a passing nod to the hot Track’ster concept that was unveiled last year – the all-new 2014 Soul rides on a new chassis that is stiffer, longer and wider. The Soul’s new dimensions allow for more passenger and cargo room while NVH levels have been reduced dramatically. Increased torque and significant suspension upgrades make the 2014 Soul a nimble and agile companion in congested urban environments and inside there is a long list of standard comfort and convenience features, including Bluetooth®1 wireless technology and steering wheel-mounted controls.