If Ad Writers Were Only Allowed To Marry! *UPDATED*

…then ads such as the following would never get made!

(Click to largify)

From Huffington Post: Kia Sportage Ad Sparks Pedophilia Controversy

A new Kia ad is raising eyebrows—with some even saying that it promotes pedophilia. The ad, which promotes a dual-zone climate control feature in one of Kia’s cars, took home the Silver Press Lion at the prestigious Cannes Lion Awards. But it is controversial, to say the least.

The ad features a teacher lusting after his elementary school-aged student. On one side of the page, she appears as a young girl. On the other side, though, she becomes a scantily clad, buxom teen, seemingly as a product of the teacher’s imagination.

Oh wait – it won an award. It’s all good then. Never mind.

Click here if you wish to contact Kia Motors and complain. I did tried – their system won’t allow you to send a message electronically, so I called their number and lodged a formal complaint. I wasn’t the only one to call.

(Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)

***UPDATE*** (10:25 PM EST 6/24/11) – from the Kia Motors website:

Statement Regarding Inappropriate Advertising Material From Brazil

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.

Kudos to Kia on the quick response. Still makes me wonder how this ad managed to get submitted in an international contest and win an award if it was never approved by KMA in the first place, but at least they’ve made a public announcement denouncing it.

23 Responses to If Ad Writers Were Only Allowed To Marry! *UPDATED*

  • Yet another sad example of how modern culture defies parody…

  • Given that it was Cannes, maybe Roman Polanski was on the awards committee.

  • I didn’t get the ad the first time through. Halfway through rereading it, my brain shut down, because it couldn’t possibly be what it looks like. I declare that this ad is perfectly harmless, and I’m going to erase it from my short-term memory, and pretend I never even logged on today.

  • ….The most charitable interpretation I can make is that the first style is the Cartoon Network one that has any non-adults that height, rather than it being an elementary student… that doesn’t make it any better, though. The whole “if she looks hot, she should be legal” thing does NOT need any more support!

  • I too didn’t get at first glance because I just couldn’t believe that any sane human would go down the road that this ad is trying to push. It won an award? From who MABLA? Sickness!

  • The sick deviants behind this knew precisely what they were doing. In the ad world the mantra has always been “sex sells”. We currently live in such a sex drenched world that the only way in which sex can continue to sell is by going down taboo paths. Hence this ad and most of the advertising by Abercrombie and Fitch. This ad is an example of the truth of the old maxim that the love of money is the root of all evil.

  • My customer complaint to Dodge for their anti-child Grand Caravan ad looks rather silly after seeing this.

  • It wasn’t silly, Jay. Just overtaken by events. The diseased culture always ups the ante.

  • The ‘culture’ is not sick. The ad agencies are sick. We will have an indicator that the culture is sick if someone can actually sell air conditioning systems with this junk.

  • Art Deco… do you actually know anything about ad agencies? How the advertising industry works? How advertising award shows work?

  • If the ad was only used in Brazil, why is it in English? Not buying it.

    And I do know how advertising agencies and contests work. Judges generally like things to be “edgy” — they stand out in the piles (literal or digital) of entries they have to slog through. And recognizing something edgy shows how hip and edgy the judges are. Surprisingly, actually selling something, being readable and/or understandable, and appealing to a target audience are not particularly helpful qualities come awards time.

  • Art Deco… do you actually know anything about ad agencies? How the advertising industry works? How advertising award shows work?

    1. No, that is not my trade.

    2. I don’t give a damn.

    3. I need know nothing about the mechanics of ad agencies or award shows to know when someone’s sensibilities are disordered.

  • Did you notice this in Kia’s response:

    “We can guarantee this advertisement has never and will never be used in any form in the United States…”? [Emphasis mine.]

    I’m sorry, but this shouldn’t be used in any form ANYWHERE.

  • Agree with Art Deco. The advertising industry is built upon the power of subliminal messages. It is very well documented. It is not about “art” or “ideas”. It is about appealing to appetites to compel purchase and sees people essentially as animals and who act on pavlovian impulse to get needs met without reference to thought process. Who has ever had a “discussion” with an ad?

  • My point isn’t to defend the ad, but rather to question your response that “it’s the ad agency’s fault.” A little too simple.

    There are such lovely people that post here I’m finding.

    As someone who does work in the ad industry…well, I don’t think you are really aware of the kinds of discussions that do go on.

  • There are such lovely people that post here I’m finding.

    Yes, but we put up with you, anyways. Catholic charity and all.

  • Anthony, Well, who had the responsibility to put the brakes on something like that if not the ad agency? If that is where discussion leads, and this is an example of something that has gone mainstream regarding clothing for now little girls, then I don’t really think that as bright and as nice the ad people may be that the system of self-accountability has worked.

  • “it’s the ad agency’s fault.” A little too simple.

    Are you going to tell us the specs from KIA motors or whichever intermediary commissioned the ad included a pedophile theme?

  • The ‘culture’ is not sick. The ad agencies are sick.

    Are we seriously lacking in evidence that American (or in this case, Brazilian) culture is not fairly sick?

    Yes, this ad is unusually transgressive, but it’s not that far off the debased standard of popular entertainment and culture.

    As for whether it’s the ad agency’s fault — there’s clearly blame to go around. At a minimum, the Brazilian branch of Kia approved the ad. Given what I’ve seen of how most companies work with their ad agency, I would bet money that they at least delivered a request along the lines of, “We want something edgy that conveys the idea of two temperatures in one situation or environment.” And they also probably picked this one out as the favorite out of several alternatives in an early stage of development of the ad concept.

  • You will get no argument from me that there has been a secular decay in the culture. That does not mean the decay is uniform across issues and across subcultures. The world is better in some respects and worse than others than was the case in 1978.

    I do not think what is produced the the foetid confines of the creative class necessarily says much about people outside it.

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