Kia, like just about every other business, is trying hard to find its way in the ever-evolving world of social media. Some might say the Korean automaker is trying too hard, though, judging by responses to its new Facebook campaign. The initiative was born out of an attempt to build the company's Facebook likes, while at the same time raising money for charity with a program called "1 Like = 1Day Food for 1 Family."

Kia's Facebook campaign asked users to click on the social media site's ubiquitous thumbs-up "Like" button. In return, the carmaker promised that for every like, it would donate a day's worth of food for a whole family of starving refugees in Sudan through charity World Vision.

The effort garnered Kia almost 4,000 likes and, presumably, 4,000 days-worth of food for hungry refugees. But it's also gotten dozens of derisive comments calling Kia's campaign words like "disgraceful" and "sickening." The big objection to the effort is the idea that Kia is looking to boost brand awareness by taking advantage of people's charitable impulses. As one commenter said, "Either donate or don't... the emotional blackmail... is sickening." Another said, "If you really care, Kia, just help them anyway and don't boast about it for your own brand awareness."

Kia says it has been caught off guard by the criticism and "...did not anticipate this type of interpretation." The company has since changed the link on their Facebook page from the like button to a World Vision link.

University of Canberra social media researcher Julie Posetti tells stuff.co.nz that campaigns like this always have "potential for backlash."

"Bottom line: it's rarely a good look to try to leverage potential customers' social concern for hungry, war-orphaned children in the interests of advertising clout," Posetti said.

How do you feel about Kia's campaign? Cast your vote in our poll below, then speak your mind in Comments.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 68 Comments
      vwynn
      • 2 Years Ago
      First world problems = people getting angry about this ad Third world problems = people starving because no one "Liked" it
      jtav2002
      • 2 Years Ago
      Meanwhile, people who are complaining about this probably don't donate anything to charity themselves. Who cares? Kia is donating money to charity. My company does facebook campaigns just like this. For every like we get we donate so much to a charity. I don't see how it's "taking advantage of peoples charity impulses" or whatever it said. Kia is the one spending money, all people are doing is hitting the like button. So people are complaining that Kia is donating money basically on their behalf. I've never heard of people complaining about someone else donating money to a charity. I really question the peoples sanity who actually are offended by this.
      Andrew Rieger
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, there are people actually upset over this? Quit complaining. Have any of these people complaining actually done anything to help people ion Africa? A few have I'm sure but most have not. People complaining about something stupid is about as surprising as the sun rising in the morning. This makes me want to like Kia on Facebook even more. 4000 plus days of food already? Ya, I'll give it a "Like". Typical PC crap.
      John Hughan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't believe people are pissed about this. If you want to support starving families but don't want to help Kia advertise, then go make your donation somewhere else! But don't tell Kia to just donate the money without expecting something in return. Brand awareness tends to increase revenue, which is what pays for these types of activities. I think this is a pretty cool idea, myself. Are people pissed off at Toms Shoes for their whole "We donate a pair of shoes to a child for every pair you buy?" I don't hear people telling Toms to just donate a bunch of shoes without selling them or complaining that they feel forced to buy Toms shoes in order to support those kids. Give me a break. Toms customers instead seem to wearing Toms as a badge of honor that they're supporting children by buying Toms, much as I imagine Kia was hoping their supports would see themselves. All these armchair critics need to find more worthwhile things in life to occupy their time.
      adrenalnjunky
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, and I thought slacktivism was something the population generally got behind, cause they really never had to do anything to make themselves feel good...about their not really contributing. In for a penny, in for a pound. Kia was fully aware and prepared to make sizable donations to this cause, and all you had to do was click a button with your mouse on a facebook page. Instead people decided to get pissed off about it. 1st world problems made from 3rd world issues?? C'mon.
        OnTheRocks
        • 2 Years Ago
        @adrenalnjunky
        The people lambasting Kia probably haven't given one cent of their own money to a charity, and wouldn't have any time soon.
      Audidodee
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is no worse than all the stuff you see with pink ribbons on it that promise to donate a few cents to cancer research if you buy their product (or even worse, won't donate anything unless a specific sales quota isn't met). At least Kia wasn't asking you to buy something from them before they'd donate.
        joshwritescopy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Audidodee
        The most poignant point made here. This campaign is, in fact, far better than anything by Livestrong or the people that sell those breast cancer ribbons, etc. This is a one-for-one deal, and it costs the consumer absolutely nothing. The fact that people find this so appalling is indicative of the overly sensitive nature of our world today...
          Gordon Chen
          • 2 Years Ago
          @joshwritescopy
          That's not true. Those bracelets are just a gift and cost very little to make. At starbucks, I see the "save US jobs" bracelet for $5. If you're generous, you can buy the same bracelet for $50. My point is you're not actually paying for the bracelets in these case, you're donating, but getting a cheap gift back. It's like those "I voted" stickers--people don't vote solely for the sticker.
        Audidodee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Audidodee
        Uh... make that "won't donate anything unless a specific sales quote IS met."
      848evo
      • 2 Years Ago
      If all I have to do is click on the "like" and Kia will actually feed someone who needs help then this is the greatest campaign ever. Wouldn't mind if other major corporations or governments did the same. Yes they could donate anonymously but ths is about awareness.
      Autoblogist
      • 2 Years Ago
      And the alternative could be not donating and allowing that much more people to potentially starve. Is it so hard to click a f*ucking button? No money is coming out of your pockets, but people still want to bitch about it. "OMG a brand is trying to get awareness through charity, somebody call the cops!"
        Gordon Chen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Autoblogist
        It's not illegal. It's immoral. It's manipulating people to accept a company into their life by using their emotions of getting the poor fed.
          John Hughan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Gordon Chen
          No it's not! Nobody's forcing you to give through Kia. Kia is offering you a way to feed a family FOR FREE. If your emotions are leading you to want to make a charitable contribution but you resent Kia, then go pay real money to satisfy your emotional needs elsewhere -- or find some other brand with a similar idea that will allow you to do it for free.
      jbserra
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm willing to "Like" Kia to feed a family. Please put it back online! Back before Facebook, people used to visit websites daily for the chance to click on a link once a day that would in turn make some type of donation. I'm sure they're still around, but it's not like anyone was screaming to shut those down! People were flocking to them. I don't understand how this is offensive. It looks like a majority agree, so I think they should put it back up.
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 2 Years Ago
      People are such little bitches. They'll complain about anything. Take all the money you were about to give them back and drop the campaign, that'll show them. How ludicrous. How about bitching that they're giving the money to people HALF WAY AROUND THE GLOBE, instead of helping orphanages and foundations HERE IN THE STATES??!!?! It was US after all who put Kia where they are now. Stupid fuc kers....
      WillieD
      • 2 Years Ago
      I honestly have no hope for the general population.
      ducksuckduck
      • 2 Years Ago
      This reminds me of the time back in early 2000 when I had to run to a TJ Max by the world trade center to quickly pick up a dress shirt because my fountain pen emptied itself in my shirt pocket. I saw a lady following me in so I held the door open for her and she screamed at me. She said I was making a statement that women are weak and can't even open the door for oneself. I said no... even if she was a man who could bench 500, I would still hold the door open for the sake of courtesy. She gave me a dirty look and walked away. I'm guessing here but I think Kia is inviting people to like because that would give the folks a sense of participation in doing something good for others. Sure they are using that for the marketing purpose but I don't think anyone's being held hostage here. Whenever I do a run, I go ask people to donate money to charities like leukemia foundation and make a wish foundation. Am I holding the miles I run as a hostage? No I'm not.
        Tom
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ducksuckduck
        You either must not run very often, or you have some strange conversations with neighbors in the A.M. "Good morning, Ducky; out for your daily run, eh? "Yep, I sure am -- want to donate some money to prostate cancer research on my behalf? I'm expecting to do about six miles today, so, just pick a number and mutiply by six. I'll come by for the check tonight," [Later.] "Hey, got that check for prostate cancer research? Great! By the way, I ran all the way here; got any money for PETA for my run back home?" But seriously, yes, some people have some political ax to grind that's on their minds all the time. E.g., anyone who says there's a "War on Women," or people who think racism in the U.S. hasn't decreased since 1950. But this ad stunt is in bad taste, and that's the double-edged sort of Facebook publicity; you get attention, yes, but not all of it positive.
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