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Kia Rolls Home With Nielsen’s Top Auto Ad Award

2 minute read | April 2010

Kia Motors was the big winner at the 2010 Nielsen Automotive Advertising Awards, earning the title of Most Effective Automotive Ad of the Year.

In the winning TV ad, streets are occupied by hamsters running in place on exercise wheels until a red Kia Soul pulls up to a stoplight as the passenger window rolls down to reveal a trio of music-loving hamsters who have found “A New Way to Roll.”


The ad was found most effective by Nielsen’s panel of 2.5 million television viewers who answered questions about how much they remembered about the programs and commercials they watched the previous evening throughout the past year. Only TV ads that launched in 2009 were eligible for nomination.

“Our data show that truly effective advertising starts with a great creative idea,” said Lois Miller, President of Nielsen Automotive. “When you combine that idea with a memorable and unique hook that grabs the viewer’s attention, you are going to get the results that we saw from Kia this year.”

This was the fourth year of Nielsen’s Automotive Advertising Awards, which were once again held at the opening breakfast of the New York International Auto Show. Nielsen also distributed awards to Ford for “Green Ad of the Year” and to Toyota for “Sales Event Campaign of the Year.”

The Social Media Effect

But it was Kia whose ad stood out as the best of the best. To maximize its success on TV, the company carried the message to social media, which is now becoming standard practice for marketers both in and out of the auto industry.

“Even before we could get our own copy of the ad online, fans had already found it and posted it on YouTube,” said Michael Sprague, Kia’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Within a couple of months we saw that the ad had a total of over a million online views.”

As Nielsen’s Miller is quick to point out, consumers aren’t just viewing videos on the web; they’re talking about them as well.

“Social media is a living, breathing channel and many companies are scrambling to understand it,” said Miller. “Fortunately, Nielsen can measure social buzz and can give insight into whether marketers are creating positive or negative sentiment in these spaces.”

Watch Automotive marketers and consumers discuss social media’s impact

Whether viewed online or over the airwaves, consumers were able to connect – and connect positively – to Kia’s marketing effort. And that means TV and Internet audiences haven’t seen the last of those hamsters.

“We never envisioned this ad being as popular and effective as it’s become,” said Sprague. “Stay tuned. You’re going to see more hamsters coming this summer.”

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