Fashion Week is home to many runways, but few have challenged a supermodel to go from zero to 60 in under five seconds.
In an effort to send the message that Kia is a brand that stands for style, design and performance, the brand activated a pop-up press event during New York Fashion Week that challenged some of the biggest names in fashion, music, sports and entertainment to a drag race—and not that kind of drag race.
“We asked, how do you bring life to this vehicle, and what is the best way to talk about design, performance and style in a different way,” says Sylvia Lopez-Navarro, national manager-partnerships & experiential marketing at Kia Motors. “And we thought, what better way than the runway.”
On Sept.12, fashion designer Brandon Maxwell, supermodels Candice Swanepoel and Joan Smalls, baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, writer and TV host Derek Blasberg and social media personality Cameron Dallas stepped into Kia-branded racing suits to take their turn behind the wheel of the new Stinger, the highest performance production vehicle in the automaker’s history with the power to reach 60 MPH in just 4.7 seconds.
Sleek black viewing platforms, real timing lights, a green room, hospitality tents and a camera-friendly photo backdrop transformed a former parking lot on New York City’s Pier 92 into an upscale setting for the 1,000-foot race track and media showcase. The event kicked off at noon with each celebrity influencer taking two timed runs in the Stinger. Swanepoel clocked in with the fastest time. The entire panel of celebrity-drivers stuck around to pose with the Stinger and chat with the media about the experience.
“When we started planning this event we were very strategic about the content capture—exactly what is it that we wanted and who was going to be instrumental in helping us tell that story,” Lopez-Navarro says. “We definitely wanted a very diverse group of talent that really represented performance, style and design… but we felt they were very genuine and unique to our brand, as well.”
The content strategy paid off, earning media coverage from several target media outlets including “E! News,” “Extra,” “Entertainment Tonight,” People and more. According to Lopez-Navarro, the event exceeded all expectations.
The experience wrapped with a dj and refreshments for attendees who, in addition to the press, included Kia executives and dozens of Kia dealers from around the region. Agencies: IMG LIVE, New York City (event production); Catalyst, New York City (influencers and p.r.); Zeno Group, Santa Monica, CA (p.r.).