The Carolina Panthers are favored to beat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, but it's too early to call who will win the battle of the Super Bowl ad. Depending on the year, those ads can be more entertaining than the game itself!
"'It's really important for us to elevate the awareness of the brand," said Michael Sprague, chief operating officer for Kia Motors America. "This is our seventh consecutive time in the Super Bowl. We see a really strong return on the investment."
Investing in the Super Bowl isn't cheap. According to AdWeek, companies will spend a record $5 million for a TV ad during this year's game.
Sprague said last year's commercial led to an increase in sales for the automaker. In 2015, Kia Motors ran a Super Bowl commercial that featured actor Pierce Brosnan driving a Kia Sorento.
"We immediately saw an uptick in customers going to Kia.com and to third-party shopping sites," said Sprague, who added there was a more than 200% surge in web traffic. By the end of the year, Sorento sales were up 13%, besting other vehicle sales in that segment.
Sprague is hopeful for more of the same following the new Optima commercial, which is called "Walken Closet." During the spot, a man walks into his closet and finds Walken sitting in a chair talking about, of all things, socks.
"There are two types of people in the world. Those who are content to blend in -- they walk through life like beige socks," intones a very serious Walken during the commercial. He then puts a multi-colored sock on one hand. "Then there are those who expect more. They are exciting. They have pizzazz," he says.
Sprague explained that the colorful sock is a metaphor for the Kia brand, which stands out in a world of sameness.
Kia isn't just relying on Walken to boost sales. The automaker will also use a new technology platform from Influential and IBM's (IBM - Get Report) Watson to track social media engagement around the brand.