Kia Hampsters win Nielsen's Top Auto Ad Award for second year in a row

Kia Soul Hamsters in "This or That" - Click above to watch video after the jump

Kia has taken home the top honors in the Nielsen Automotive Ad of the Year awards for the second year in a row. The company's troupe of dancing hamsters managed to make the biggest impression on viewers in the "A New Way To Roll" spot in 2009 and the rodents managed to pull off a similar stunt in 2010 with the automaker's "This or That" ad.

Nielsen hands out the awards based on response information collected from 2.5 million viewers across 24 networks, and according to Kia, the hamster spots have helped increase Soul sales in a big way. The boxy compact saw its sales figures increase by 50.8 percent last month compared to March 2010.

The Soul wasn't the only winner, though. Ford took home two awards in different categories, with the Fiesta netting honors for the best green ad and the company earning best sales event spot with its "Swap Your Ride" commercials. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz grabbed the best luxury campaign trophy with its "Triumphant" spot for the SLS AMG and Toyota walked away with the Spanish Advertiser of the Year title.

Follow the jump for the press release, as well as a replay of the winning "This or That" ad.

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[Sources: Neilsen, Kia]

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Kia Soul TV Commercial Named "Automotive Ad of the Year" by the Nielsen Company

Music-Loving Hamsters Strike Again and Earn Kia's Five-Door Hatchback the Award for Second Consecutive Year

- "This or That" ad spot featured popular urban beats and rapping hamsters

- Popular marketing campaigns contribute to increased brand awareness and record sales
NEW YORK, April 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Kia Motors' lovable hamsters have done it again – earning the follow-up advertising campaign for the brand's funky Soul, titled "This or That," the highly coveted "Automotive Ad of the Year" award by The Nielsen Company for the second year in a row at a ceremony today at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. Together, the popular "This or That" spot and the original "A New Way To Roll" campaign have contributed to significant increases in consumer awareness, perception and consideration of the Kia brand, and led to record sales of the Soul urban passenger vehicle. In March, the Soul became the second Kia vehicle to sell more than 10,000 units in a single month, and year-to-date sales are up 50.8 percent.

The "This or That" campaign, the second chapter of the Kia Soul hamster story created by David&Goliath, depicts the endearing hamsters driving through city streets to the tune of the hip-hop song "The Choice is Yours" by Black Sheep, cleverly comparing "This," the funky and uniquely styled Soul, to "That," a number of boring and mundane appliances on wheels, cardboard boxes or hamster wheels. The spot debuted on cable at the end of May 2010 as an extension of the first Soul spot to feature the hamsters in "A New Way to Roll," which depicted boring city and suburban streets inhabited exclusively by hamsters who are mindlessly running in place in their exercise wheels until a molten red Kia Soul pulls up to a stoplight and the passenger window rolls down to reveal a trio of paw-tapping, music-loving hamsters who have in fact found "A New Way to Roll."

"Designed to stand out in a sea of sameness, Soul's unique personality is reflected in its out-of-the-box ad campaigns which continue to resonate with consumers and critics and have driven record vehicle sales for the Kia brand," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, Kia Motors America. "As the vehicle that began Kia's design-led transformation, the Soul was a game changer for the Kia brand and our advertising is a reflection of our desire to keep Soul fresh, fun and relevant in today's marketplace."

Available in four trims, Soul, Soul+, Soul! (exclaim) and Soul sport, the five-door hatchback offers an attractive starting price below $14,000(1) as well as unique and utilitarian style. Designed with the young and young-at-heart in mind, Soul presents distinctive style, value and function with a relatively small footprint and surprisingly spacious interior. Passengers will find comfort in Soul's roomy cabin, usefulness from Soul's efficient cargo carrier with 14 storage zones and will benefit from numerous standard convenience features, including an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio capabilities (including a three month complimentary subscription)(2), and USB and auxiliary input jacks in the center console with full iPod®(3) and MP3 controllability via the audio head unit and steering wheel controls (achieved with an optional Kia accessory cable).

In 2012 Soul also will receive Kia's first in-car hands-free communication and entertainment system, UVO powered by Microsoft®(4), which will allow drivers to safely and efficiently interact with the in-vehicle technologies while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Soul offers an immense amount of style and value on top of an extensive list of standard safety features sure to appeal to all consumers looking for a well-equipped vehicle suited to their personalities, including front seat active headrests, dual front advanced airbags, front seat-mounted and full-length side curtain airbags, an Antilock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist System (BAS) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Front and rear crumple zones, side-impact door beams, an impact-absorbing steering column and Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system also come standard.

Following the success of its first four special edition Souls – Denim, Ignition, Shadow Dragon and Ghost – based on the Soul+ trim, KMA is releasing two more special edition Souls(5) in 2011, White Tiger and Hamstar™. Offering consumers even more ways to personalize the Soul, each special edition comes with its own unique exterior color and packaging.

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