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What Drives South Africa

by on June 26, 2010

In preparation for the 2010 World Cup, South Africa invested in hundreds of buses and refurbished trains to ease traffic congestion in this already-congested country, and added to that an influx of of hundreds of thousands of global tourists.  In total, S. Africa invested over $5.7B in infrastructure leading up to the month-long event.

However, there’s one problem:  wealthier South Africans steer clear of taxis and trains where they are easy targets for criminals.  In addition, they’re averse to using buses because they don’t trust the drivers.  According to BusinessWeek, about 500,000 accidents occur each year on the roads, claiming the lives of over 10,000 people.

“Old habits die hard.  Public transport is used by poor people and is not a feature of the middle-class life, whereas attendance at these games is.  Persuading people to use public transport is not an idea you sell in a weekend.”  -Tony Twine, economist for Econometrix.

Recognizing this, and trying to get a leg up as one of only six major sponsors of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Kia Motors (with sister company Hyundai) blasted onto the world stage in 1999 flexing its marketing muscle while trying to communicate with customers and build an emotional connection through its football sponsorship.  Further, Kia has secured its position as the Official Automotive Partner (and Official Korean Sponsor) of FIFA until 2014. In addition to its brand-building advertising, Hyundai-Kia also provided over 830 protocol vehicles and buses for the games, and Kia has been holding promotional football events for the locals.

“The World Cup is an opportuntity for us to expand our presence in Africa as well as the world through various on-the-spot marketing and social events,” said a Kia spokesman.

Kia intends to accomplish this task through social and top-of-mind awareness.  The auto company has been very active in hosting large-scale street cheering events nationwide, as well as its large presence on dedicated South African pages of Twitter, Facebook and the company’s YouTube website.  This, of course, is to further establish its strong foothold in the South African market, in advance of the launch of its new Sportage R in South Africa later this year.

Kia’s launch of the “Kia Experience” has also resonated well with the South African target audience.  The Experience is a global campaign whereby 12 bloggers from around the world are invited to the 2010 FIFA World Cup as well as a Kia test drive after the games.  Kia, not typically known for its digital prowess, recently improved that reputation by creating a Distributed Engagement Channel (DEC) for the launch of the Soul, which pulls in content from multiple social networks, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace and Flickr.

Kia’s strategy seems to be more centered around digital, but has not forgotten the grassroots.  Hyundai and Kia have taken a large part in ground transportation for the World Cup.  They’ve leveraged their fleet of stylish, safe and dependable vehicles for athletes and spectators during the games – a great way to get people talking!  And, who wouldn’t be interested in the vehicle their favorite athlete is pictured in?

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From → South Africa

One Comment
  1. I really liked the way you started this post by posing an interesting challenge and setting up a point that there was a problem to be solved and that marketing and your post in particular would talk about how to solve it. KIA was an interesting brand to talk about for this because they certainly do seem to be doing quite a bit through using digital tools. The connection to public transportation seemed to get a bit lost in your post, though, as most of the marketing efforts you profile seem to be around KIA cars that will be launched or promoted in South Africa. Also, you share at several points that KIA is getting a “large presence” and that their efforts have “resonated well.” We need a bit more detail on why you feel that. A quick look at their Twitter and Facebook accounts show 142 followers and 551 fans respectively. Do you think this is a success or not? This point needs to be factored into your post a bit more to add some more analysis around whether you think this is a positive case study or not. (3)

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