Kia knows that in order to effectively reach a marketing message, there is a need to be at the right place at the right time. It successfully achieved that in 2011 during the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Winning the slam dunk contest was no other than Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers, following dunk over a Kia Optima.
Kia had also been one of the Clippers’ corporate sponsors, until recently when a huge uproar was created by racially laden remarks allegedly made by team owner Donald Sterling.
Kia, as well as CarMax and Mercedes-Benz dealers, decide that it will be at the wrong place at the wrong time to banner its brand with the Clippers, although it remains as the official automotive partner of the NBA and the sponsor of TNT’s “Inside the NBA.”
A Kia spokesman said that as fans of the game of basketball, Kia’s “support of the players and the sport is unwavering,” adding Sterling’s alleged racist remarks were “offensive and reprehensible.”
Mercedes-Benz, on the hand, quipped that its dealer group shares its concern and has “moved to cease its sponsorship” of the Clippers effective immediately. CarMax, a corporate sponsor of the Clippers for nine seasons, dubbed Sterling’s remarks about black people “completely unacceptable.” [source: automotive news - sub. required]