Kia Stages Interactive Promotion With Videos, Tattoos at Vans Warped Tour

At the Orlando stop of the Vans Warped Tour, Kia Motors engaged concertgoers with an interactive branding promotion.

Concertgoers at Kia's "Bare Your Soul" tent

Photo: Brandon Dowling for BizBash

To promote its new Kia Soul, a customizable car geared at younger drivers, Kia Motors teamed up with the Vans Warped Tour—a 47-city traveling festival featuring rock bands and extreme sports—in an effort to engage young concertgoers with an interactive brand experience dubbed “Bare Your Soul.”

Recognizing an overlap between the Warped Tour’s generation Y demographic and the target market for the Kia Soul, the company worked with creative agencies Ignition, David & Goliath, Silent Partner Media, and Innocean to conceive an on-site event that would feel less like a promotion than a natural part of the fast-paced, all-day event. “Our experiential events are designed to deliver the Kia brand and product messages to consumers where they play,” said Kia Motors America's  manager of sponsorship and promotions, Kathryn Cima, who oversaw production of the event. “We find consumers are more receptive to messaging when they are in their environment, and our messaging is more genuine because we’re supporting something that they support.”

The Kia promotion, which came to the Central Florida Fairgrounds for the July 24 tour date, was housed within two side-by-side 15-foot-square tents emblazoned with the Kia logo. Outside the tents, the Soul was on display with two other Kia vehicles and, for Warped Tour denizens less likely to be lured by cars, four skateboard decks with original etched artwork. Inside the tent, the focal point of the promotion was a curtained booth where fans could record a video message and “bare their soul” (e.g., tell a secret, perform a song and dance, or just give a shout out to a distant friend). The videos were uploaded to a dedicated Web site where they can be viewed by entering an access code given to participants.

The individual nature of the promotion was designed to match the Warped Tour's indie punk rock aesthetic and the concept behind the car, which offers multiple ways for consumers to design their own take on the vehicle. “The freedom to personalize a Soul with a variety of packages, options, accessories, cool colors, and host of standard features appeals to the creative, independent individuals who attend the tour,” said Cima. “Because of this overall connection we were able to leverage our existing Soul campaign elements in the messaging for the Warped Tour.”

While waiting in line, participants could get an airbrushed tattoo in their choice of six templated designs (each featuring the Kia or Soul logo) and they were rewarded for participating with a special wristband that gave them access to Kia’s elevated (and shaded) V.I.P. riser in front of the main stage, an especially attractive incentive on a day when temperatures soared to 100 degrees. Concert bands also stopped by the tent to sign autographs and pose for photos with fans.

To execute the promotion at each tour stop, Kia maintains a touring staff of six who each handle specific tasks within the Kia tent—M.C./host, blogger, airbrush tattoo artist. The company expected more than 1,500 people to enter the Kia tent at the Orlando stop and at least 109,000 people nationwide over the duration of the tour.

Having already hit up the likes of Boston, Dallas, Phoenix, and San Francisco, the tour, which launched in late June and wraps at the end of August, will stop in Chicago on Saturday.

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