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Kia Sedona Commercial With Stig-like Drivers Gets Digitally Altered

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Kia Sedona Commercial With Stig-esque Drivers Gets Digitally Altered

A still from the Kia Sedona commercial “Racetrack,” with the color of the helmet digitally altered from white to black

By now, you’ve probably seen the Kia Sedona commercial that features a group of Stig-esque drivers racing around a banked track in a minivan, and if you haven’t, go ahead and take a look:

2015 Kia Sedona commercial – “Racetrack”

Related info: 2015 Kia Sedona Overview

Notice anything different? When this commercial first started airing on television back in October of 2014, the family of test track drivers wore white helmets, and were obviously meant to resemble the Stig from the show Top Gear (who was last spotted driving around Canada with Darth Vader). It was a brilliant marketing idea: distance the Sedona from the “lame” minivan image by advertising it like it’s a high-performance sports car, and use a character that auto enthusiasts will immediately recognize, but who’s image isn’t really copyright protected (we assume you can’t copyright the wearing of a white racetrack suit and white helmet, even if it is the Stig’s signature get-up).

“The element of desire was a major theme in the design and engineering of the all-new Sedona, and our campaign was conceived to signal that something different is going on at Kia,” Tim Chaney, vice president of Kia Motors of America’s marketing communications, said at the time of the commercial’s release. “Sedona brings new levels of style and sophistication to a bland and predictable segment for the growing number of people who do not want to be confined by the conventional design limitations of the category.”

The Stig-inspired Kia Sedona commercial was a clever way to target that demographic; playfully challenging stereotypical conceptions of the minivan in a way that wasn’t as cringe-inducing as Toyota’s “Swagger Wagon.”

So why has the ad been digitally altered online so that the drivers now have black helmets, essentially “ruining the joke” by making them no longer resemble the Stig?

Here's how the driver in the Kia Sedona commercial originally looked

Here’s how the driver in the Kia Sedona commercial originally looked

Related info: 2014 Kia Sedona Overview

There’s been no statement from Kia, but we have to assume that the British Broadcasting Company (the network that airs Top Gear) must have gotten involved. We can’t find anything that’s been said publicly about the issue, so if it was a dispute between Kia and the BBC, they came to their agreement in private.

Still, the whole scenario is a bit ironic, considering that at one point in the commercial, the narrator says, “It’s not a compromise.” Well, maybe the Sedona itself isn’t, but the digitally-altered commercial looks to be one…