This will mark the fourth generation of Kia hamster ads, and the clever spots have been big for both the budget hatchback and the automaker in general. While speaking at the Small Agency Conference hosted by Ad Age, Michael Sprague, the executive vice president of marketing and communications for Kia, said the manufacturer's sales have jumped by 78 percent since 2008. At least a portion of that increase can be attributed to the success of the hamster campaign.
Sprague also revealed the hamsters were almost edged out by other members of the animal kingdom, including backpack-wearing boars. So, what's behind Kia's marketing success beyond a handful of anthropomorphic rodents? Sprague says Kia can thank its success to the company paired-down, bureaucracy-free management system. When it comes to pitching marketing ideas, the only person he has to answer to is the company's CEO.