Kia And Hamsters And Petville, Oh My: The Soul Returns To Facebook

June 28, 2010

We have good news and bad news.

The good news: for a third year, Kia will underwrite the Vans Warped Tour, which, for those who haven't been, is a lot like Lollapalooza, except people actually go.

The bad news: Kia is bringing the Soul back to Facebook, which didn't go too well the first time. Worse: it's doing so via PetVille.

The Vans Warped Tour kicked off over the weekend in Carson, California, and over the next month and a half, it'll travel through Phoenix, up to Montreal, down to St. Petersburg, back up to Detroit, and wrap up in Hillsboro, Oregon. Along the way, Kia will be known as the "Official Car Sponsor" and as the sponsor of the festival's special solar-powered stage. Kia will also host the "Soul Lounge", where music fans can chill out, meet some of the touring bands, and of course, learn more about the Soul, Forte Koup, and the re-worked Sportage. That's the kind of social we love.

As for Kia's Facebook endeavor, it centers on the popular and admittedly likable ad for the Soul that we talked about last month. Until July 31, PetVille players will see a "This or That" icon at the bottom of the game page (a reference to the Black Sheep's "This or That" tune that's used in the new campaign). When clicked, an editable version of the Kia ad will pop up, which users can then remix and share with friends.

As much as we like the Kia Soul, and as much as we love a good mashup, we really aren't sold on PetVille. For one, it's not really a game so much as a series of chores for Obsessive-Compulsives. Even the lowly Tamagotchi was more engaging. And for two...well, call us crazy, but PetVille seems like it might appeal to folks who don't yet have their driver's licenses. Then again, Kia's VP for marketing, Michael Sprague, says that "The immense popularity of the latest Kia Soul ad, especially with the Gen Y crowd, made it an obvious fit for the popular PetVille game", so maybe he knows something about PetVille demographics that we don't (and don't want to know). Still, the irony of selling the Soul through a game that attempts to steal your soul isn't lost on us.

We'll see you at the concert.

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