By Barry Janoff
October 29, 2012: In Back to the Future, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd use a DeLorean to travel back in time.
Blake Griffin has a marketing deal with Kia Motors, so he uses a 2013 Optima to travel back to the 1990s and 2000s in new commercials timed to coincided with the start of the 2012-13 NBA season.
Kia Motors, which is the official automotive partner of the NBA, has featured Griffin in a series of humorous spots dating back to the 2011 All-Star Game, when he jumped over the hood of a Kia Optima SX to win the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.
Five new 30-second spots highlight Kia's UVO voice-activated "infotainment" system, which enables Griffin to travel back to offer suggestions to younger versions of himself. Lead agency is David & Goliath, El Segundo, Calif.
The first two spots, "Football" and "Free Throws," will break on Oct. 30. The others will follow throughout the NBA season. Support includes social and digital platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Kia.com.
According to Michael Sprague, evp-marketing and communications for Kia Motors America, "Griffin is one of the most exciting and recognizable young athletes in the world, and this latest campaign pairs Griffin's basketball wisdom and athleticism with the youthful style, performance and cutting-edge technology of our wildly popular Optima midsize sedan and the award-winning UVO infotainment system."
In "Football," Griffin is in his 2013 Optima when he requests of UVO, "Take me back to 1997."
As UVO Jukebox plays OMC's "How Bizarre," Griffin lands at a park where a group of kids are playing football.
"Wrong sport," he says to one of the boys as he takes away his football and then drop-kicks it out of sight.
"Who are you?" the kid asks. "I'm you from the future," Griffin responds.
He then continues in a deadpan voice, "And that's my Kia Optima. It's full of futuristic things. Like heated and air-cooled front seats."
The kid and his friend offer no response and look at Griffin as if he just dropped in from the future. Then Griffin offers another bit of advice to his younger self. "Stop wearing jean shorts . . . Just trust me." (See the full spot here.)
In "Free Throws," Griffin goes back to 1995. As UVO Jukebox plays Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It," he is transported to a suburban neighborhood. There he finds an even younger version of himself than in "Football." The kid is hanging from a basketball rim attached to a driveway garage, having apparently just dunked.
"Who are you?" the kid asks. "You, from the future," Griffin replies.
The kid, looking at the 2013 Optima, asks, "Is that your spaceship?" "No, it's way better," offers Griffin. "It's my Kia Optima with UVO with voice-activated infotainment system."
"What else can you tell me?" the kid asks. "Practice your free throws," Griffin, who is a 59% free throw shooter, says. True to form, Griffin takes a shot, and the ball gets stuck between the rim and the backboard. "Practice a lot." (See the full spot here.)
In addition to the NBA, Kia has official marketing alliances with about a dozen NBA teams, including Griffin's Los Angeles Clippers, the defending champion Miami Heat, the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls.
"Blake turned people's heads after his famous dunk over a Kia Optima in the Sprite Slam Dunk contest at NBA All-Star 2011," said Sprague regarding the third-year forward. "His on-court talent combined with his unique comedic style and personality have translated into a powerful partnership that has helped raise awareness and brand perception for Kia."