Kia Pumps Up Soul with Music and Hamster Spot

The new Soul Jam ad by Kia transforms the classic, Dueling Banjos, into an internationally-inspired anthem which debuts this week.

Kia Motors is once again pairing music with the brand’s iconic hamsters for a new advertising campaign surrounding its urban passenger vehicle, Soul. Beginning in movie theatres this weekend, the movement is set to transform the classic, Dueling Banjos, into an internationally-inspired anthem.

Set to appear across more than 34,000 screens nationwide via National CineMedia’s FirstLook pre-show programme kicking off on 27 May 2016, the 60-second Soul Jam spot opens in an idyllic park setting with Nathaniel Rateliff, the front man of roots sensation, and the Night Sweats.

Together, they trade guitar licks with a banjo-playing hamster which arrives on the scene in a Soul before more furry-fiends join the fray. What begins as a friendly game of musical one-upmanship morphs into a world jam session and dance party as nearby city-dwellers get on board.

Revellers add to the celebration by showing up with instruments of their own, ranging from a sitar, African and Korean drums, ukulele, bagpipes, violins, and more. Kia’s most ambitious hamster commercial, the production required nearly 3,000 hours of computer generated imagery work.

To ensure authenticity, ethnomusicologists including Dr. Steven Loza, the Chair of the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music’s Department of Ethnomusicology, helped curate the musically-eclectic session featuring authentic instruments, dance, and apparel from around the globe.

Created by David&Goliath, The World Needs More Soul push entails an extended cut of the short on YouTube as well as broadcast, social media, digital, and out-of-home elements. Meanwhile, the Soul Sessions online video takes viewers inside the recording studio for a preview of the collaborative process.

The hamsters previously utilised songs ranging from Black Sheep’s hip-hop track, The Choice Is Yours, and LMFAO’s smash hit, Party Rock Anthem, to Animal and Applause by Maroon 5 and Lady Gaga respectively—to announce that the Kia Soul offers ‘a new way to roll’.

The fuzzy characters have since become icons with the 2011 spot generating more 20 million online views. They were also recognized by the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame and named the first Rookie of the Year after being chosen as Automotive Ad of the Year for two consecutive years by Nielsen Automotive.

“With each Soul execution, we strive to bring a fresh musical perspective, and Soul Jam blends a variety of styles and cultures with a highly recognisable piece of music to create something fun and different that stands out from the crowd,” said Michael Sprague, Chief Operating Officer and EVP at Kia Motors America.