By Kendra Barnett | Senior Reporter

December 9, 2022 | 5 min read

The automotive brand built a custom immersive display to transport kids to the North Pole – without having to leave the hospital.

Kia Motors and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have teamed up to bring the magic of the holidays to hospitalized children.

The brand today debuted the new ‘Season of Giving Back’ campaign. The campaign aims to give children and parents at St. Jude the opportunity to visit the North Pole – without having to leave the comfort and safety of the hospital.

“Helping those in need is at the heart of the Kia brand and we are proud to support St. Jude,’” said Russell Wager, vice president of marketing at Kia America, in a statement. “We hope to provide holiday cheer to those families that are facing the most difficult of circumstances with dignity, bravery, and grace. Kia is honored to be a small part of the impact St. Jude has on so many.”

To bring the magic to life, Kia tapped its agency of record David&Goliath, who, with the help of Nexus Studios, directed by Factory Fifteen, assembled a custom-made 50- by 100-foot set that surrounded a Kia EV6 with nearly 300 LED screens. The vehicle itself was mounted atop hydraulic compressors to create the feeling of driving and flying.

Factory Fifteen drew inspiration from Rachel Bright's children's book ‘The Way Home For Wolf’ to create a storyboard that included festive animals who race alongside the children participating in the activation. But it was the results that were even more inspiring. “Designing this journey and seeing it light up the car through the immersive LED stage was nothing compared to seeing these brave children's faces light up with glee,” said Paul Nicholls, cofounder and creative director at Factory Fifteen.

The campaign’s 60-second hero film – which was shot on site at St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee – sees a handful of young patients take a virtual trip to the North Pole. Sitting in the backseat of the EV6, they each have a chance to magically traverse through a tunnel of sparkling red and green arches. Then, they see their name appear in the starry night sky, welcoming them to the adventure. They ‘drive’ through a snowy pine forest, where they encounter a sparkling reindeer and a magical narwhal before being lifted into ‘flight’ above the snowy terrain. Finally, under the green northern lights, they are welcomed to the North Pole.

The ad closes with a message explaining that, “This holiday season, Kia is donating to St. Jude for every car purchased.” It’s part of a larger partnership with the hospital; in November, the brand announced that it plans to donate a minimum of $1m to the organization. The donation will be the automaker’s third this year to St. Jude as part of its ‘Accelerate the Good’ charity-focused initiative. Since 2019, Kia has donated more than $14m to various causes as part of the program.

“We have such gratitude for our partnership with Kia and its dealer network, whose support helps to ensure that no family will receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food so that they can focus on helping their child live,” said Richard C. Shadyac, Jr, president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in a statement.

The spot will air on national TV and will also be streamed through the St. Jude in-house television network so young patients and their parents can enjoy the display. The campaign includes 6-, 15-, and 30-second versions of the hero spot that will be deployed across digital platforms. The effort also includes social media, out-of-home, radio, print and point-of-sale activations.

David&Goliath's team is confident that the campaign hits the right note. “We didn't just want to create a traditional year-end event,” said Ben Purcell, chief creative officer at David&Goliath. “The Kia EV6 is an electrically innovative and capable vehicle. So, we created an immersive holiday experience around it that was just as innovative.”

Most importantly, he said, “This is the season of giving. We wanted to give to those who may not be able to experience the holidays at home, such as the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital... a special experience [to create] a little extra holiday cheer.”

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