Kia e-Niro: The work of a genius or a complete Focker?

kiaAnother day, another ad featuring Hollywood legend Robert De Niro hits the TV screens. What, we hear you ask, has Warburton’s released Goodbagels 2? Nope, this time everyone’s favourite screen gangster and Meet the Fockers star is appearing in a pan-European campaign for the new Kia e-Niro electric crossover.
Now, according to the official bumf from Innocean Worldwide Europe, the agency behind the campaign, De Niro “will highlight the e-Niro’s ability to eliminate barriers to electric vehicle ownership with a series of TV, print and digital advertisements”.
Apparently Kia’s partnership with De Niro “will draw on the actor’s inimitable character and sense of humour to draw attention to the e-Niro’s numerous benefits – its long 455-kilometre electric driving range, high-tech infotainment features, energy harvesting technologies, and unique crossover design”.
Sounds reasonable enough.
Innocean Worldwide Europe’s chief creative officer Gabriel Mattar seems pretty chuffed with it too. He enthused: “It’s our first campaign for Kia Motors Europe and we couldn’t be more proud. This 360° campaign not only brings a close, light-hearted approach to one of its top selling models but also sends a signal to where the Kia brand is heading. This is the first step of many more to come.”
The client’s happy as well. Kia Motors Corporation vice-president of global brand and marketing Artur Martins gushes: “The communication plan for the e-Niro will be as special as the car itself. These advertisements will draw on Robert De Niro’s unique ability to entertain, as he educates drivers about the e-Niro – a car that breaks down many of the obstacles to electric vehicle ownership in a way that few others have.”
In the first instalment, “Bob” appears on set dressed as a “hipster”, complete with glasses, skinny jeans and beany hat. The director asks: “Why are you dressed like that?” to which De Niro replies: “The script says we should see a trendy version of De Niro, so here I am.”
The director then goes on to explain that it is not De Niro, it is the Niro, the new car range from Kia. Bob responds: “Oh I am sorry. My bad. I will be right back.” He then walks off presumably to get changed…
So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office? After all, we loved the Warburton’s ad – admittedly, mostly because Piers Morgan loathed it – so surely this one must be a shoe-in? Were we rolling around the office in fits of laughter at Bob’s performance? Will it make us rush out to our nearest Kia dealership to book a test drive?
Well, not quite. The agency and client might be happy with the campaign but if this first ad is anything to go by, it’s a bit of a stinker. The script is very poor, shoe-horning in all the guff about how great the new cars are between lame jokes. And, as for “trendy De Niro”, they can’t even get that right; he looks more like an extra from the Smurfs than a hipster. For once, we actually agree with Campaign magazine, this is a complete “Turkey”….
Decision Marketing Adometer: 3 out of 10

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