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Blake Griffin Stars in New Kia Ads

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer November 2011

The NBA may be in lockout, but that hasn't stopped Kia from featuring all-star forward Blake Griffin in its print ads, television spots and events. Kia recently debuted two new TV ads featuring the basketball star, who has served as a Kia spokesman since dunking over a 2011 Optima at last year's NBA All-Star Game.

In the first spot, a camper is trying unsuccessfully to light a campfire. A friend appears and pours lighter fluid on the fire, which causes it to ignite into a huge fireball. After the camper warns his friend that adding lighter fluid wasn't safe, Griffin appears seemingly out of nowhere and agrees. The NBA star then notes that the 2012 Kia Optima is safe, touting the sedan's five-star crash safety rating.

The second ad starts with a woman at a hair salon complaining to her stylist that her significant other never listens to her. Griffin appears, twirling a basketball on his finger, and tells the woman and her stunned hairdresser that the Optima's new UVO infotainment system always listens. Next, Griffin is shown driving an Optima and using UVO's voice control function to turn on the stereo.

Griffin presented the ads alongside Michael Sprague, Kia's vice president of marketing and communications, at last week's Los Angeles Auto Show. The pair arrived on stage in a basketball-themed 2012 Optima, which was created for the recent SEMA show in Las Vegas.

According to Kia, Griffin is the only professional basketball player who has a global marketing relationship with an automaker. Kia has featured Griffin in other advertisements since his famous All-Star Game dunk, including a recent spot that showed him dunking into a 30-foot hoop after being towed up a ramp by a 2012 Optima.

The Optima is enjoying major success since a redesign last year. In October, Kia sold more than 8,500 units of the midsize sedan, representing a 430 percent increase over the same period last year. And sales this year are up nearly 200 percent compared to the same period in 2010.

While the handsome sedan will likely retain its momentum for some time, high-visibility ads featuring one of the NBA's top young stars certainly can't hurt.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Blake Griffin Stars in New Kia Ads - Autotrader