Am I a hip-hop hamster?

Since I have absolute faith in the abilities of media planners (especially Nordin) whenever an advertising message comes my way I believe I must be a customer.

I’ve seen the commercial for the Kia Soul several times now, it must be a vehicle I’d buy. But am I really a hip-hop hamster?

Enormous, anthropomorphic, urban, hamsters dressed in hoodies, caps and bling lavalieres are, according to the spot, the ideal drivers for this boxy, mini SUV. They rap the message “you can give her this, or you can give her that.” Meaning you can drive a toaster on wheels or be cool in the eyes of the ladies by driving Kia Soul (which looks like an undersized Scion— a car that does in fact resemble a toaster on wheels).

So why does Kia think I aspire to be a Hip Hop Hamster? I suspect this message is about authenticity. Stand out from the crowd and to thine self be true by driving this car. It’s a unique presentation. But that’s all that’s unique. The rest screams wannabe.

Hamsters are innocuous little rodents, way down on the pet totem pole. A disposable imitation of a real companion (i.e. dog) and not even as cool as a ferret, hamsters are best known for running and getting no where. Hip Hop was once an expression of a genuine cultural movement. Now its just another style so safe and sanitized you can buy it at Kohls in grade school sizes. A pre-packaged “look” the insecure can put on to blend into and pretend to be part of the crowd.

As for the vehicle, it doesn’t seem all that distinctive to me. In a video on the website the designer states he set out to design something cool and stylish (nice try). What is really interesting is his inspiration: a wild boar wearing a backpack. Now that’s standout.

Rodentine, disposable, second-best, uniform, going nowhere, imitative are not how I see myself. Until I learned about Kia Soul, the name I would’ve given to those attributes is “LAME.”


Schifino Lee

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