Melissa McCarthy Super Bowl Ad Scores Big For Kia Niro


When Kia ad agency David & Goliath chose Melissa McCarthy to star in a Kia Niro ad for the Super Bowl, it had no idea the actress was about to go viral for her portrayal of White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live. That spoof has won her more media attention than anything else in her career and it hasn’t worked out too badly for Kia, either. The connection between McCarthy the environmentalist and McCarthy the press secretary double plays well with the target audience for the Niro, the most fuel efficient vehicle presently for sale in the US market.

Melissa McCarthy Kia NIro ad

The ad won the 29th annual USA TODAY Ad Meter competition, making the highest ranked spot of all the ads that aired during Super Bowl LI. “That was like the lucky strike that the universe throws out there for you,” says David Angelo, founder of David & Goliath told Automotive News. “The fact that she was doing a parody of Sean Spicer and out there trying to save the world; that combination really helped bring her brand and her persona out even more.”

Kia and Angelo had no idea that McCarthy would hit a social media home run on SNL when shooting for the commercial began last fall. “Saturday night was a night I took off. I didn’t watch the news or anything. Didn’t watch ‘SNL,’” Angelino says. “Then I get this amazing email in the morning that said ‘You’re not going to believe who was on SNL last night.’ Then I saw the clip and every single person out there was talking about this. I have to believe that helped accentuate the spot.”

Kia will gladly take the extra buzz that McCarthy’s SNL antics have created. The Kia Niro hybrid is now in some showrooms and will be coming to more soon. Kia is focusing on markets where interest in efficient automobiles is highest. The car has a lot of good things going for it. It’s stylish. It’s a crossover — the hottest segment of the new car market at the moment. It has better than average performance thanks to its 6 speed DSG transmission. The fact that it’s also rated slightly ahead of the Toyota Prius Prime in efficiency — 150 MPGe vs. 133 MPGe — is just icing on the cake.

Source: Automotive News  Photo by the author


About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    Nice that the Kia Niro gets good gas mileage but this hybrid only has a 1.56kWh battery. Loved the ad but this is such a small step towards a full battery electric vehicle (i.e. a Green car) I can’t help feel disappointed.
    Kia do produce good pure battery electric vehicles, shame they didn’t push them instead. I can see that a pure battery electric vehicle won’t suit every use case but if you still need the backup of an ICE a Volt or an I3 with the optional small gas engine would make a much greener choice.

    • Steve Hanley

      You are correct. However, the car’s efficiency both in town and on the highway is nothing short of amazing. It is also prices thousands less than the competition.

      The Kia NIro battery electric should be in showrooms shortly. Official specs are not available yet, but since it is a mechanical twin to the Hyundai Ioniq battery electric, range should be about 125 miles. Not great, it’s true, But then again, it will be priced aggressively, which means it should undercut the LEAF with similar range by a fair amount.

      I drove the hybrid last year. It was an impressive car and the 6 speed makes it a hoot to drive when you feel like shifting for yourself. I really enjoyed the time I spent with this car.