The Challenge: The car industry is facing 
a ‘pretty good’ problem – most mid-range cars are perfectly adequate to drive and own, very similar in style, specification, and value. To stand out, Kia, needed to represent something else. We were asked to create brand differentiation and driver consideration for Kia, and raise awareness of their new range of cars – the Sportage, the Optima Sports Wagon and Kia’s first hybrid car, the Niro.

The Solution


We created a profile of Kia’s most valuable audiences (and where to reach them) and identified the emotions that would trigger their engagement and motivate them to act. Following in-depth research with readers across News UK’s portfolio, the team uncovered that car-buying was driven by branding, not product – and the best way to engage them was to demonstrate how a car complimented their lifestyle, rather than just its specs, speed or engine size.


We created ‘The Power to Surprise’ – a campaign that consisted of a range of bespoke content for each of car. A total of 12 beautifully-designed articles, five short films, three live Instagram stories and one interactive infographic were developed; all of which looked to position Kia in a new and surprising light.

We secured talent including William Hardie, Suzi Perry and John Torode, and social influencers Pippa Vosper and Conor McDonnell to showcase how the car enhanced their lifestyles. The team also created a “Top Gear”- style reviews from a kids’ perspective. We even filled the boot with red setters to creatively demonstrate the Optima’s space and versatility.

Articles were published in The Sunday Times Magazine, The Times Magazine, Style, Times Business pages and all the assets were replicated on both web and tablet, and published posts via The Sunday Times’ Twitter and Facebook pages.

We launch the new-look Lifestyle & Motoring site, of which Kia was a partner, and a fully responsive content hub that generated more than half a million-page impressions.

The Results: Top line

  • Kia saw car sales worth over £400,000 with 7% of News UK readers admitting to buying a Kia as a direct result of the campaign.

  • We saw a high recall rate amongst News UK readers (31%) and awareness of Kia’s hybrid range increased to a staggering 71% among those who recalled the campaign, compared to 17% of non-readers.

  • Among those who recalled the advertising, 53% would consider Kia for their next car purchase, compared to 10% of non- readers while 52% would share or discuss the campaign with friends.