"Our story began with a bicycle, back in 1951."
It's the opening line of a Kia ad that has been airing the past few months. I like the ad. It makes you feel good. I like the Kia models that I've driven. My wife likes the ad. She suggested that I write about it. It works at making you feel good about Kia.
The ad opens with a kid from the past. This helps us suspend disbelief when the announcer gets to the part about Kia. We're quickly ready for more because we've been instantly transported back to Mayberry. We're ready to feel good! When they tell us about the new Kia plant in Georgia, it all makes sense to us and we feel good about that too.
The interesting/curious part: there are elements of the ad that just don't add up.
True: Kia has opened their first U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia.
True: This is a good thing for Georgia, and for the U.S.
Strange: That a kid who looks like he stepped off the set of Leave it to Beaver could be riding a bike that was manufactured in South Korea in 1951. He is later seen riding it in the Georgia factory.
Stranger still: By all accounts (Kia's web site and Wikipedia), Kia was started in 1944 in Seoul. Wikipedia says they manufactured bikes, but Kia's own site says bicycle parts.
Question: Why does the ad say 1951 instead of 1944? Why an American kid and not a Korean kid?
I get it. All Marketers are Liars Tell Stories.
The story is, "Kia is a successful company that has been around a long time. We used to only manufacture our products in Asia, but now we're manufacturing cars in the United States. We hope you will like this fact and buy more of our cars."
The inconvenient facts are that it simply wouldn't be effective to show a Korean kid playing with bicycle parts. 1944 was also right in the thick of World War II. 1951, not so much.
If viewers get the idea that those bikes were made in America, so be it.
And, if Kia can avoid tying itself to WWII, instead, to a time when we were allies, what's the harm?
Also…certainly, nobody is going to check the facts are they?
What do you think?
And…was that really a Kia bicycle in the ad?