Kia hamsters are “Totally Transformed” to promote the 2014 Soul

Article by Anita Panait, on August 27, 2013

Kia’s extremely popular hamsters have transformed! Making their debut five years ago, the hamsters, now donning physical transformations -- will star anew in the South Korean carmaker’s new advertising campaign for the MY2014 Kia Soul. The second generation of the funky urban passenger vehicle has been designed to be more functional and more refined. It now has more space as well as more available premium features.

Not only that, the MY2014 Kia Soul offers better driving dynamics. Topping all that are the vehicle’s fresh looks. But the Soul is not only one that has transformed. Not to be outdone, the clothed hamsters are now slimmer and don back-slicked hairs. Their transformation as well as that of the new Kia Soul will be highlighted in the “Totally Transformed” advertising campaign, which is set to the transformative music of Lady Gaga’s new single “Applause.”

“Totally Transformed” was created by Kia's advertising agency of record, David&Goliath, and can now be viewed at It will have its launch broadcast during the MTV Video Music Awards on August 25. The Soul and the hamsters will also have their turn on the silver screen as Kia expands the multi-platform campaign to over 33,000 movie screens across the United States on August 30.

Michael Sprague, KMA’s executive vice president of marketing & communications, remarked they didn’t expect that the Soul would be a big hit among car buyers when it first arrived years ago. He noted that the year-over-year success of the Kia Soul is a direct result of the hamster commercials entertaining the young and young-at-heart. He remarked that the second generation Soul still keeps its individualistic advantage with its refreshed design and with a ‘Totally Transformed’ driving experience.

He noted that the iconic hamsters followed suit by getting fit and developing a new fashion sense reflecting the sophistication of the 2014 Soul. Previous advertising campaigns for the Soul positioned the urban passenger vehicle as “A New Way to Roll” and were set to a number of popular soundtracks like Black Sheep’s "The Choice Is Yours" and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem. In fact, the popularity of the Soul is considered a driving force behind the heightened awareness on the Kia brand as a whole.

All those campaigns were starred by no other than the iconic hamsters who -- while running in place inside their exercise wheel – have been comparing the Soul to boring appliances on wheels, cardboard boxes or hamster wheels. The hamsters’ rise to stardom was unprecedented. Their 2011 campaign, "Share Some Soul," has already breached 20 million views and is the third most-watched auto ad in YouTube history.

As a testament to their popularity, the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame that same year named the hamsters as their first-ever "Rookie of the Year." Colin Jeffery, managing partner and executive creative director at David & Goliath, remarked that the agency is always facing the challenge of creating a new adventure for the hamsters, and for the new Soul that is now sleeker and more sophisticated, they enlisted the help of Lady Gaga, some current fashion trends, and MPC VFX.

The new Kia Soul – inspired by the hot Track’ster concept unveiled last year – rides on a stiffer, longer and wider chassis. With its new dimensions, the Soul now offers more passenger and cargo room while less NVH levels.

Further upgrades include increased torque and improved suspension upgrades – all making the Soul nimbler and more agile even in congested areas. Customers are also treated to a number of standard comfort and convenience features inside the cabin like Bluetooth wireless technology and steering wheel-mounted controls.

Press Release


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®2 wireless technology and steering wheel-mounted controls.

Kia: One of the World’s Fastest Moving Global Automotive Brands
Kia Motors America is one of only three auto brands to increase U.S. sales in each of the past four years, and in 2012 the company surpassed the 500,000 unit mark for the first time. With a full line of fun-to-drive cars and CUVs, Kia is advancing value to new levels of sophistication by combining European-influenced styling – under the guidance of chief design officer Peter Schreyer – with cutting-edge technologies, premium amenities, affordable pricing and the lowest cost of ownership in the industry. Kia recently joined the exclusive ranks of Interbrand’s “Top 100 Best Global Brands,” and is poised to continue its momentum with seven all-new or significantly redesigned vehicles scheduled to arrive in showrooms in 2013. Over the past decade Kia Motors has invested more than $1.4 billion in the U.S., including the company’s first U.S. assembly plant in West Point, Georgia – Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia – which is responsible for the creation of more than 11,000 plant and supplier jobs. The success of the U.S.-built* Optima and Sorento in two of the industry’s largest segments has fueled Kia’s rapid growth and is complemented by Kia’s comprehensive lineup which includes the Cadenza flagship sedan, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Sportage compact CUV, Optima Hybrid, the Forte sedan, Forte5 and Forte Koup compacts, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and the Sedona minivan.

About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 765 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA. In 2012, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and gained U.S. market share for the 18th consecutive year. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.

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