Kia Will Fund a Scholarship Instead of Paying for a Celebrity in Its Super Bowl Ad

The brand is using its spot to launch The Great Unknowns Scholarship

Headshot of Diana Pearl

In recent years, Kia has become synonymous with running Super Bowl ads that star a celebrity. The brand featured Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler in 2018, Melissa McCarthy in 2017, Christopher Walken in 2016, Pierce Brosnan in 2015, and Laurence Fishburne as his Matrix character Morpheus in 2014.

But this year, Kia is breaking precedent and running an ad that not only features zero celebrities, but questions how the money spent on landing these famous faces could be put to better use.

Instead, this year, Kia is using its ad time in the Super Bowl to launch The Great Unknowns Scholarship, which promises to “help young people in need get a foothold in higher education.” A 30-second teaser for the spot ran Sunday night, during the NFC Championship Game.

In the ad, the camera slowly zooms in on a store window stacked with old-fashioned TVs, each playing the same video of a faceless celebrity being snapped by the paparazzi on the red carpet. As the ad rolls, a young boy says: “Right now companies everywhere are choosing celebrity endorsers for their Big Game ad. Millions will be paid, just like any other year. But what if it wasn’t? What if a few of those celebrity paychecks got set aside to help unfamous people? What if this year in some way, it was about the rest of us?”

As he continues, the television screens begin to change, one by one, to feature a number of different young people. The screen then flashes to black, with the words “Here’s to the Great Unknowns” written across it, followed by a link and the date of the Super Bowl—Feb. 3, 2019.

The creative for this spot was handled by Kia’s national AOR, David&Goliath. 2019 marks Kia’s 10th straight year of advertising during the Super Bowl.

For all the latest Super Bowl advertising news—who’s in, who’s out, teasers, full ads and more—check out Adweek’s Super Bowl LIII Ad Tracker. And join us on the evening of Feb. 3 for the best in-game coverage of the Super Bowl commercials anywhere.

@dianapearl_ Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.
Publish date: January 22, 2019 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT