Kia: ‘You Make Us Make Better Cars’

In January South Korean automotive company, Kia, launched a series of new television advertisements that were notably different from traditional the adverts produced by other car brands. Driven by Kia’s slogan, ‘You Make Us Make Better Cars’, the adverts attempt to shift the focus from the products onto the consumers. With this in mind, we decided that the only way to assess the effectiveness of the advert was to ask the consumers it targeted what they thought.

Using our advanced in-app camera technology, we were able to show a diverse panel of 100 UK consumers the adverts. We then asked them to record a 60 second video telling us exactly what they thought of the advert and why. From the responses we received we were able to highlight what people thought were the strengths of the advert, as well gaining a deeper understanding of why some disliked it.

Positive Feedback

The majority of the panel quickly observed how the advert was focused on consumers.  The advert features a series of interview-style clips with individual customers, interspersed with scenes of different groups of friends, lovers and families who were collectively enjoying the Kia experience.Many of the respondents liked the way it showcased the opinions of ‘real’ people who drove Kia cars. Some people remembered the tagline and felt that it communicated a positive message about the conversational relationship between Kia and their consumers, as it implies that customer feedback plays a fundamental role in the development of products.

‘They’re saying that cars are an expression of you and a big part of your life. By saying ‘You Make Us Make Better Cars’, it suggests that they listen to what their customers want’ (Alexandra, 38, Worthing)

Our research indicated that consumers were impressed with the diversity of people shown in the advert, as they spanned a wide variety of races, ages and class. Many of the panel thought that this promoted the notion that Kia created cars that were suitable for everyone.

‘It includes people of all different ages and races. It shows how everyone has different requirements of what they need from a car and the advert shows how there are Kia cars that can fulfil them all’ (Francesca, 25, Harpenden) 153968

‘The advert really appeals to me because it makes me feel like the car is really family orientated, but at the same time it’s not just for 1 demographic it’s for everyone’ (Yasmin, 23, Manchester)

Moreover, the responses suggested that, by focusing on the customers’ experiences, Kia distinguished their brand from other automobile brands. A number of respondents reflected on adverts they had seen for other brands, which generally focused on the appearance, power and speed of the car. In comparison, the new Kia advert promotes the idea that the brand is fun, personable and suitable for everyday use.

‘It’s really different to other car adverts because it doesn’t just show a car driving really fast. They’ve injected humour and shown it’s for everyday use’ (Chloe, 22, Manchester)

‘It’s nice to see a car company that are not taking themselves so seriously’ (Rupert, 42, London)

‘What I got from it was that they were celebrating the euphoria and freedom you get when you’re driving and how much you enjoy being in your car’ (Molly, 20, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne)

Whilst the advert does give a significant amount of screen time to consumers, many of the panel were confident that promoted the different technological features that Kia cars have.  People are shown talking indirectly about the features they want in a car, such as heated seats and future proof design, which are all (of course) found in a Kia.

‘I like it because it tells you about the different features that the cars have’ (Tim, 48, Bangor)

‘I picked up on the features it had, such as the heated seats and the ‘easy drive’, so that would encourage me to purchase a Kia’ (Timothy, 34, Bristol)

‘It says what most people think about cars, saving a lot of the jargon and special tech talk that you find in most adverts. It goes back to basics and just asks: ‘What do people want and like in a car” (Alex, 35, Horwich)

Negative Feedback

Although the advert was generally received positively by the panel, there were a considerable number of respondents who felt it was not effective.

The advert is made up of a collection of short clips, sounds and words. A selection of the consumers we surveyed found this effect disorientating and distracting. They claimed they were unable to follow the advert or take in any of the information about the vehicles that was presented. A small number even stated that the advert did not seem to be overtly promoting the Kia brand or indeed any brand at all.

‘I didn’t like it because I didn’t understand half of it. It seemed like people were just shouting out random words. It wasn’t until I saw they were pretending to drive cars that I understood’ (Katie, 25, Wallsend)

‘I did not like the advert at all. There was too much going on. It was flitting from one scene to another, there was music and then no music and there wasn’t really much about the car. Because there was too much going on, I don’t think anyone would be able to get an idea of what the car was actually like.’ (Jeanette, 42, Ashford)

‘It’s a bit random – it just seems all over the place’ (Chloe, 25, Staines)

However, our research clearly indicated that the main reason why people said they did not like the advert was because it did not provide enough information about the cars, the features they had or how much they cost. These consumers said that, in their opinion, an advertisement should aim to promote the product and make it seem desirable and affordable.

‘From what I could see, it doesn’t show the cost, price or what range of cars they sell’ (Jamie, 27, Solihull)

‘It didn’t tell you anything about the features of the car. Therefore, it didn’t do what an advert is supposed to do. It didn’t advertise the individual product and tell you about why it is unique’ (Michael, 55, Norwich)

‘Previous adverts have really focused on Kia’s long guarantees and things like that, which has been their unique selling point and something that distinguishes them from other providers’ (Ross, 29, Leeds)


Overall, the advert received a mixed reception from the panel. Our research showed that people liked the fact that the advert focused on real consumers, as it showed how the car was suitable for everyone. However, in order for future adverts to be really effective, Kia need to increase the focus on the features of the vehicles as well.