Case Study

Kia – The Power to surprise

The car industry is facing 
a ‘pretty good’ problem – most mid-range cars are perfectly adequate to drive and own, very similar in style, specification, and value. To stand out, Kia, needed to represent something else. We were asked to create brand differentiation and driver consideration for Kia, and raise awareness of their new range of cars – the Sportage, the Optima Sports Wagon and Kia’s first hybrid car, the Niro.

The AEM process

We created a profile of Kia’s most valuable audiences (and where to reach them) and identified the emotions that would trigger their engagement and motivate them to act. Following in-depth research with readers across News UK’s portfolio, the team uncovered that car-buying was driven by branding, not product – and the best way to engage them was to demonstrate how a car complimented their lifestyle, rather than just its specs, speed or engine size.

The idea

We created ‘The Power to Surprise’ – a campaign that consisted of a range of bespoke content for each of car. A total of 12 beautifully-designed articles, five short films, three live Instagram stories and one interactive infographic were developed; all of which looked to position Kia in a new and surprising light.

We secured talent including William Hardie, Suzi Perry and John Torode, and social influencers Pippa Vosper and Conor McDonnell to showcase how the car enhanced their lifestyles. The team also created a “Top Gear”- style reviews from a kids’ perspective. We even filled the boot with red setters to creatively demonstrate the Optima’s space and versatility.

Articles were published in The Sunday Times Magazine, The Times Magazine, Style, Times Business pages and all the assets were replicated on both web and tablet, and published posts via The Sunday Times’ Twitter and Facebook pages.

We launch the new-look Lifestyle & Motoring site, of which Kia was a partner, and a fully responsive content hub that generated more than half a million-page impressions.

The results

Kia saw car sales worth over £400,000 with 7% of News UK readers admitting to buying a Kia as a direct result of the campaign. We also saw a high recall rate amongst News UK readers (31%) and awareness of Kia’s hybrid range increased to a staggering 71% among those who recalled the campaign, compared to 17% of non-readers. In addition, 49% of those who recalled the campaign said Kia “is a brand I would like to own” compared to 17% of non-readers; an increase of 188%. Among those who recalled the advertising, 53% would consider Kia for their next car purchase, compared to 10% of non- readers while 52% would share or discuss the campaign with friends.

The content posted on the site generated over 10m views with readers spending an average of two-minutes on the site. The videos also achieved more than 250K plays on the open web thanks to one of The Bridge Studio’s first integrated partnerships with Unruly.

James Curtis, Head of Marketing Communications, Kia UK, said “The campaign achieved something that was truly unique, and increased consideration, familiarity and likelihood to purchase.”

Tess Hulme, Business Director, Havas, said: “it was clear that the team understood our client’s pressures from the start. Their ideas and delivery pushed the boundaries of normal for Kia, and they over-delivered in all areas.


  • Over 10000000 views with an average duration of 2 minutes
  • £400000 direct car sales thanks to the campaign
  • 430% increase in consideration for Kia’s model range
  • 71% awareness of Kia’s hybrid offering