How Kia Motors, Isobar India and ‘Meerkat’ won over online audiences

For the launch of the Seltos in India, Kia Motors extensively made use of social media to engage with consumers. Gopa Kumar –COO-Isobar India talks about the success of the campaign

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Published: Feb 5, 2020 8:33 AM  | 7 min read
KIA Motors Meerkat

When it’s about Kia Motors, one can be assured that the communication to the audience will be in quintessential Kia Motors style. It was no mean feat, therefore, for Isobar India to translate the ‘Badass by Design’ theme of the Kia Seltos launch onto the online world. Not only did the agency seamlessly carry out the automaker’s digital duties, the outcome far exceeded expectations. And yes, our favourite Meerkat too was part of this digital journey in his quirky and entertaining avatar.

Talking about the success of the digital campaigns Vijay Kumar, Lead – Digital Marketing & CRM, Kia Motors India says they are proud to be associated with Isobar India, further adding, “ To be the industry leader, is the aim when two globally acclaimed entities come together to raise the bar of Automobile Industry. Being our debut product in India, the Kia Seltos launch has been the most ambitious project for us so far and we've been able to put a great show together for the same."

The brief involved educating and familiarizing the audience with the Seltos features but in an unconventional yet engaging way. The campaign that took shape was a fine partnership between Kia Motors’ marketing style and Isobar’s creative strength. Take a look at what the team put together, besides the hard work, the fun the two entities had putting it out reflects in all the campaigns.

Campaign: Adventures of Meerkat

Execution: The objective of this campaign was to create a buzz around the launch of the #BadassByDesign Seltos with the target audience, the millennial, in mind. Drawing from the love millennials have for Instagram, Isobar created The Adventures of Meerkat – an intriguing graphic novel for the Instagrammers that turned IG-Stories into a dynamic medium for storytelling. The animated series was an innovative cross-over between comic books and new-age smartphone experiences.

Plotted around Johnny (a fictional character playing a Product Designer @ Kia) and Bollywood Action Superstar Tiger Shroff (The brand ambassador) - The Adventures of Meerkat showcases the story of a mysterious character who turns into a nefarious super-villain, upon failing in his attempts to become a Kia Inspiration for design. Interestingly, the digital-first graphic novel is now a comic book series that can be availed as an exclusive Kia merchandise. Key features of the car were weaved into the storyline and a digital film based on The Adventures of Meerkat promoted the digital comic across social-media platforms.

Creating conversations on social media, using influencers, moment marketing, digital films and being part of the lingo of the youth were some of the ways in which the campaigns created an impact. Explains Gopa Kumar, COO, Isobar, “Unlike other car brands, Kia’s communication has been very quirky and they would like to keep it that way especially for Seltos since its tagline is ‘Badass’. The philosophy was to say that this is a car that is well ahead in the category and that is why ‘Badass’ and the entire communication was around that.”

Campaign: Badass Calling Out Badass

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#KiaSeltos, Inspired by the Badass in you! Book a test drive today: (Link in bio) #BadassCallingOutBadass #WonderWoman

A post shared by Kia Motors India (@kiamotorsin) on

Execution: With the objective of establishing ‘Badass’ in a positive light and at the same time generating excitement around the Seltos launch, Isobar celebrated all the badass personalities in the world by quoting them. Think- Iron Man, Arya Stark, Sacred Games Season 2 and Suits Season 8. In short, other cool personalities were recruited to spell out the content strategy to reflect the Kia's 'Badass by Design' tagline.

Stressing on the importance of digital in today's world, Gopa Kumar, COO, Isobar India says that for car makers digital is a good and cost-effective platform for driving leads and enquiries. He says, “As digital becomes more and more mainstream it continues to grow in popularity. The target audience and reach digital provides, one is able to now build a brand on digital. For any brand to be relevant and to appeal to a profile, they have to have a very strong presence on digital, have a story and a voice and that is what we have tried to do with Kia.”

Campaign: Instagram Hijack

Execution: The idea was to steal the limelight from the competition and maximise the buzz around the Seltos launch. Car lovers were encouraged to share pictures and stories of their favourite cars using the most popular car hashtags on Instagram.

On the day of the Kia Seltos launch, the most popular car hashtags on Instagram were hijacked. Through real-time live coverage, dynamic Instagram stories, and carefully selected influencer collaborations across categories, Seltos owned a majority of the top 12 posts in the discovery section for the most important, relevant and popular hashtags. This also included 4 generic, most-used hashtags besides the branded ones, like - #CarLoversOfIndia. Here is the best part- it was all done in less than 12 hours.

For Kia’s launch, the communication needed to be a cut above the rest says Gopa Kumar, Isobar India, “While Kia’s product itself is premium quality and that does half the job but next is communication which needs to stand out. If it’s too mundane and straight-jacketed consumers may ignore it but if you have a distinct communication, automatically people have a good recall on it and that’s what Kia managed to do with the Seltos launch.”

Campaign: Motion Poster

Execution: This one promised to be fun and it was. Post the launch of Meerkat’s successful digital comic book series ‘Adventures of Meerkat’ on Kia’s channels, this campaign was designed with the objective of taking Kia’s Supervillain ‘Meerkat’ a notch above.

As a result, Meerkat made his silver screen debut. The strategy involved a complete take-over of the big screen. A spoof trailer was created with Meerkat challenging oldest rival, Tiger Shroff, in his upcoming film ‘War’ which was played in multiple theatres across the country. The second phase involved, Meerkat pitting his skills against the ‘Terminator – The Dark Fate’.

The consumer engagement ideas that were designed in sync with the new-age user led to strengthening the position of Kia Motors as one of the most loved brands in the online space. On Facebook the new likes grew 6.25 per cent, the organic reach 102 per cent and organic impressions by 55.8 per cent. On Twitter, the engagement rate grew by 3.2% and new followers on Instagram saw a 50 per cent increase overall. The brand earned a total of 72,125 positive conversations over the last 6 months i.e. approximately an 80 per cent positive sentiment.

Isobar and Kia Motors are now busy collaborating for the launch of the much-awaited Kia Carnival at the mega Auto Expo 2020.

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