Can Someone Give Me a Non-Creepy Explanation For These Kia Ads? (And Fisking Their Official Explanation)
[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Update: Ace links.
I am going to put the majority of this post below the fold because you have to make the ads huge to make them reasonably visible. But I am really wondering if any of you can come up with a non-creepy explanation.
Now here is the most egregious (award winning!) one (I suggest you open it in a new tab and then enlarge it):
But a lot of people don’t know there is another.
I mean the especially egregious one is the first one, right? Because on the left it is a cartoon involving a man who is clearly and adult, and a girl who is clearly a child, but on the right she’s a student, yes, but it’s possible she is at least 18. As Jim Treacher tweeted: “Which is creepier: imagining a little girl as a voluptuous woman, or vice versa?” At least in the Sleeping Beauty one both characters are transformed into children in the “innocent” version.
But really, that can’t be Kia’s intent, to use pedophila to sell their products, right? Because no company in its right mind would do that, right? Right?
And as alluded to above, yes, the first Kia ad won an award at the Cannes advertising festival. No wonder Roman Polanski feels safe in France.
But American reaction has been so angry, that Kia America is trying to distance itself from the ad. In this post, Kia America writes as follows:
Kia Motors America (KMA) has become aware of an offensive piece of advertising material that was created by an ad agency in Brazil that KMA has no business relationship with and has never worked with. This ad was not created in the U.S. by Kia Motors America or any of its marketing partners and does not reflect the opinions or values of KMA or Kia Motors Corporation. The ad is undoubtedly inappropriate, and on behalf of Kia Motors we apologize to those who have been offended by it. We can guarantee this advertisement has never and will never be used in any form in the United States, and our global headquarters in Seoul, South Korea is addressing the issue with the independent Brazilian distributor.
Now the same blogger who landed this comment then goes on to claim that therefore this meant that “[t]his is a the second recent occasion in which a Brazilian ad agency has been caught entering an ad at Cannes that was not fully approved by a client.”
Um, not so fast. I think what is damning is what they don’t say, the expressio unius in the comment. Let me quote them again:
KMA has no business relationship with and has never worked with [that agency].
KMA is short for Kia Motors America, which is almost certainly nothing more than the American affiliate of South Korean company. So it’s a bit like OJ Simpson saying, “I didn’t stab Nicole Brown with my left hand.” They only start to include what is likely to be the parent company in the next denial:
This ad … does not reflect the opinions or values of KMA or Kia Motors Corporation.
Which is not the same as saying that Kia Motors Corporation had nothing to do with it, now is it? The pregnant negatives continue:
We can guarantee this advertisement has never and will never be used in any form in the United States…
Which means they can’t guarantee that this ad has not and never will be used outside the United States.
…and our global headquarters in Seoul, South Korea is addressing the issue with the independent Brazilian distributor.
Which ideally means that they are going to rip them a new hole, heads are going to roll, etc., but that’s not exactly saying that, now is it?
Now, the blog author also says this:
But Kia spokesperson Scott McKee told BNET that the ad did not run for any consumer purpose for Kia — meaning it wasn’t a car dealership ad.
But at this point, I would like to read Scott McKee’s actual words, since the author seems to have snookered pretty significantly by the Clintonian evasions of KMA.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]