IRVINE, California – NBA All-Star Blake Griffin is “In the Zone” in a new series of four commercials for the completely redesigned 2016 Kia Optima midsize sedan.
The new campaign is designed to make the Optima stand out against its competitors, including the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.
The 2016 Optima is on its way to Kia dealerships with a starting price of $22,665, including an $825 destination charge.
In the first ad, “Next Level,” the Los Angeles Clippers forward is reading a newspaper in the clouds as an Optima driver pulls up and asks if he’s just chilling out. Griffin explains that he’s actually in the middle of a game, but since he’s in the zone, he looks relaxed.
In the other three upcoming ads in the series, Griffin, a Kia spokesman since 2011, is seen similarly relaxed – playing chess, making a sandwich and acting as a weather forecaster – while at the same time turning in impressive performances on the court.
The message: You can be in the zone, too, if you drive the next-generation Kia Optima.
Griffin first became associated with Kia when he famously won a slam-dunk contest by vaulting over the hood of an Optima, grabbing a ball fed to him through the car’s sunroof and stuffing it through the hoop.
Since then, the All-Star has appeared in ads that showed him time-traveling to coach younger versions of himself, teaming up with comic actor Jack McBrayer to form a crime-fighting duo, and starring as an action-movie hero, all featuring the Kia Optima.
The all-new Optima, larger than the model it replaces, with additional interior and cargo room, is available in five trim levels and includes a long list of standard features, such as a rearview camera and six-way adjustable driver’s seat.
Edmunds says: Kia is making a special effort to reach basketball fans, but the humor in Blake Griffin’s commercials will appeal to a wide range of car shoppers.