Kia and Rafael Nadal January 21st, 2009
By Ki Myo Kim
Overseas Promotion Team
Kia Motors Corporation
The Australian Open kicked off on January 19 (Monday). While most of us associate January with cold weather, it is now summer in Melbourne, with the long-awaited Grand Slam tournament adding to the heat.
Matches will be played in five categories: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Among the players competing in the tournament is Kia Motors’ global brand ambassador, Rafael Nadal. Nadal was a semi-finalist at the Australian Open in 2008 and is the number one seed in this year’s competition.
Deemed a perfect fit with Kia’s “young & exciting” image, Nadal was tapped to appear in the ads of Kia Motors’ Spain subsidiary in 2004. He expanded his role with Kia from 2006 by becoming global brand ambassador and has helped to raise Kia’s brand profile around the world.
Nadal visited Kia headquarters in November 2006. At the time he was just 20 years old. I had the good fortune of accompanying him during his visit and speaking with him for an interview to be broadcast within the company. When I saw his photo, I pictured Nadal as being young and playful, but I found him to be a slightly shy person of a few words.
At 22 years of age, Nadal won the Wimbledon crown in 2008. He is also a four-time French Open champion and claimed the gold medal in tennis at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. When he signed on as Kia’s global brand ambassador in 2006, he was ranked second in the world. In 2008, he rose to the No.1 spot, which also had a big impact on promoting Kia Motors.
The relationship with Nadal has been great for Kia Motors, which has been pursuing tennis marketing by serving as major sponsor of the Australian Open since 2002.
As the person handling tennis marketing, I hope to see Nadal grab victory at the Australian Open 2009. I also look forward to seeing extra synergy for the Kia brand resulting from Kia’s sponsorship of the Australian Open and Rafael Nadal.