Morgan Pritchett
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Kia Used Its Super Bowl Ad Money to Fund Scholarships Instead

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Kia Motors Introduces The Great Unknowns Scholarship Freshman Class
Kia decided against spending millions on advertising to do some good
Photo: Kia

In February, CBS charged a record $5.25 million for a 30-second commercial during Super Bowl LII. Brands like Pepsi, M&M’s, Bud Light, and Amazon all spent ungodly amounts of money to showcase their products to beer-filled, football-watching Americans. But instead of hiring a celebrity to drive one of its cars and talk about how awesome it is, Kia used its Super Bowl ad money to fund scholarships for those in need. Last month, Kia introduced us to “The Great Unknowns” freshman class: 16 college students from across the nation who were chosen to receive the scholarship.


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In a video on the Kia YouTube channel, we’re reminded of The Great Unknowns Scholarship that was launched back in February. Then the 16 recipients’ names are displayed on the screen, followed by a collage of their video application submissions accompanied by a heartfelt piano track.

“Earlier this year, instead of using a high-priced celebrity in our Super Bowl ad, Kia chose to repurpose that money to discover and reward young Americans who embody our ‘Give It Everything’ philosophy,” said Michael Cole, president of Kia Motors America. “We are honored to help these talented and ambitious students further their education and we’re excited to see what their futures hold.”


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The Great Unknowns Scholarship is based on Kia’s “Give It Everything” campaign and aims to honor students who truly go above and beyond. Much like the small town of West Point, Georgia — where the Telluride is manufactured — the students who received the scholarship have faced incredibly tough challenges. The next application enrollment for The Great Unknowns Scholarship is in early 2020, but it’s never too late for other companies to do some good, too.


Meet “The Great Unknowns” Freshman Class: