Commentary: Hi, Robo Dog!
How many of us actually watched the game? You may know who won, but was there a play that stood out above all else?
Ah, the Super Bowl. The 56th edition of the biggest professional sports event in North America. A day full of football, over-analysis, buffet spreads, liters of alcohol, and questionable fashion choices.
How many of us actually watched the game? You may know who won, but was there a play that stood out above all else? Did you miss anything Al Michaels and Cris Collingsworth said on the NBC broadcast?
Nah, you watched Super Bowl LVI for the halftime? You wanted that flavor of West Coast Hip-Hop with Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Kendrick Lamar. They will be joined by Eminem and Mary J. Blige. Mickey Guyton sung the National Anthem and Jhene Aiko sand “America The Beatuiful.”
All of this on the former grounds of the horseracing course, Hollywood Park – and across the street from The Fabulous Forum. That place saw its share of professional sports drama.
Let’s be honest, it’s the commercials on the NBC broadcast that caught your attention, right?
Kia America certainly caught mine. Prior to Super Bowl LVI, they released their 60-minute spot featuring the cutest electronic pet ever CGI’d: Robo Dog.
If you have not watched the commercial, please skip a few paragraphs…rather, skip the video below…
Now, let me say that this is the cutest damn dog I’ve ever seen on television. I know that it’s CGI animation and so forth, but I want to take that doggie home, recharge it, and let Robo Dog be my companion for as long as its battery would let it.
The commercial cuts to a store where Robo Dog is sitting patiently for a customer to pet it. Instead, it is distracted by a real dog outside the side window and a couple who is giving it some love. The fluffy dog is on its hind legs, which never fazed the man at all. That’s a good couple of pet owners!
Cut to Robo Dog who looks kind of sad after seeing that display of pet love. In turn, he’s something else he was attracted to – a Kia EV6, with its owner unplugging from a street charging unit. The driver gets on and takes off. So does Robo Dog.
The battery-powered dog gives chase to the EV6 across the downtown skyline, until the car is parked on the street with the moonroof open. Then, Robo Dog decides to take a multi-story jump with reaching the EV6 in mind. His battery was low and his camera eyes shut down.
Cut to the street, where not only the driver of the EV6 recharges his car – he is also recharging Robo Dog.
In the end, they live happily ever after.
What did we take away from this 60-second spot? First of all, we now know the answer to the eternal question: “How much is that doggie in the window?”
Robo Dog is less expensive than the suggested retail price of an Apple iPhone 13 Pro. Still, would you pay $299 for a rechargeable dog? Rather, see Kia America spend over $13 million to have us see the adventure that unfolded with that $299 battery-operated dog?
What you did not see was the intention hidden behind Robo Dog’s adventure to be EV6 owner’s companion. Kia America began a program called Accelerate The Good, a corporate citizenship initiative that will be responsible to bridge its customers with causes that are relevant to their lives.
This commercial highlights Kia America’s partnership with the Petfinder Foundation, a nationwide website that helps match rescue pets with their future owners. The website also highlight local shelters and organizations that are offering these pets to their new homes and owners.
It all fits perfectly, to connect Kia’s future automotive lineup with an emotional message highlighting the bond between human and animal.
On top of this spot, there are other related media available to Kia America’s social media followers. You can bring Robo Dog home through an experience called “Robo Dogmented Reality.” Once your mobile device reads a QR code, and Robo Dog is now part of your virtual life.
Sometimes a commercial can speak more than just what’s on the storyboard. There is some underlying message that needs to be conveyed. It also helps to have a product and a vehicle – human, animal, rechargeable pet, musical instrument, etc. – to bring that message to the forefront. It does not have to be an overt message to deliver an emotional response.
It does not matter who won inside SoFi Stadium. The real winner is the creativity Kia America bright forth to 100 million-plus viewers watching the “big game” from wherever they are in the world.
Cover photo and video courtesy of Kia America. Kia EV6 photo by Randy Stern.