The Super Bowl has become television's biggest stage. Within days, Kia Motors USA will begin touting its Super Bowl commercial on big screens.
To kick off its football championship advertising campaign, Kia Motors will release a teaser trailer for its upcoming Super Bowl commercial in 18,000 movie theaters, beginning Jan. 27. Then, four days before the big Feb. 5 game, the car company will introduce the full-length 60-second commercial, called "Drive the Dream," on the same 18,000 screens.
It is believed to be the first time a Super Bowl commercial will premiere in movie theaters.
The move by Kia is part of a growing trend by marketers to give sneak peaks or unveil their entire ads before the Super Bowl to get a jump on competitors and gain traction in the increasingly important social media platforms.
"We are trying to continue to push the envelope,” Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing for Kia Motors America, said. “Consumers at the movies will start tweeting about the ad, and that should help us build momentum and awareness.”
Kia's Optima sedan ad -- created by the car company's longtime agency, David & Goliath of El Segundo -- features super model Adriana Lima, MMA fighter Chuck Liddell and the rock band Motley Crue. The concept for the commercial came during research sessions in which a consumer on a panel said the Optima was his dream car, said David Angelo, chief executive of David & Goliath.
Kia doesn’t think the early release will spoil the freshness of the ad, which will make its television debut during the Feb. 5 championship game broadcast by NBC.
“Every year, the Super Bowl audience grows. And if we can tap 5 to 10 million people who see it early, there will still be 100 million people who haven’t seen it when it breaks during the Super Bowl,” Sprague said. “We are simply trying to create the buzz and get people talking.”
The Kia ad will be distributed in theaters by National CineMedia, which describes itself as the largest in-theater network in North America. The company -- a joint venture between AMC, Regal and Cinemark -- also programs sporting events and concerts.
The Super Bowl ad stakes are increasingly high. This year, companies are paying NBC an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot, and more than $6 million for a 60-second spot.
-- Meg James
Photo: Kia Motors USA advertisement in the 2012 Super Bowl features fashion model Adriana Lima, fighter Chuck Liddell and Motley Crue. Credit: Kia Motors USA