Kia marketing execs leave company because of ... Millard Fillmore?

Next Monday is President's Day, and a lot of workers will get the day off. Some other employees, like former Kia execs Len Hunt, CEO of Kia Motors America, and Ian Beavis, VP of marketing, will have more than just the day off: they recently ended their employment with Kia over what's being portrayed as a case of humor that got lost in translation.

To promote its President's Day sale, the company ran an ad featuring "unheard of" President Millard Fillmore, "best remembered as the first president to have a running-water bathtub." Cue the segue into the "unheard of" deals that Kia dealers would be offering during the long weekend. And to commemorate the event and the president, Kia made soap-on-a-rope busts of Mr. Fillmore, some of which were handed out during a press event at the Chicago Auto Show. And, uh... yeah... that's it. Unheard-of president, unheard-of deals, and soap.

But Byung Mo Ahn, chairman and group CEO of Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia -- and the man who hired and promoted Len Hunt -- apparently didn't find the soap-on-a-rope commercial that funny. Word is that Ahn wants more serious commercials focusing on Kia's quality. So even though Hunt and Beavis presided over a solid sales story and growing brand awareness, and Hunt was especially well-liked by dealers, the two men are now probably on their way to other automakers. And Kia commercials are about to get very boring. Our sympathies to Hunt and Beavis, yet if nothing else, at least now Millard Fillmore has another claim to fame. Thanks for the tip, Keith!

[Source: Ad Age]

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