Using sports marketing to engage with consumers
A Kia Motors case study

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Page 4: Above-the-line and below-the-line promotion


There are a number of approaches to promotion that are open to organisations. Above-the-line promotions use mass media methods. This type of promotion focuses on advertising to a large audience. It includes print, online media, television and cinema advertising.

As the fourth largest car company in the world, Kia is a big brand. It offers a range of products targeted at different market Above-the-line activities include adverts in the press. They also produce online banner advertisements, place advertisements on billboards and use their website to meet the needs of their consumers. Recent TV advertising campaigns have included the ‘small yet mighty’ cat for the new Picanto and the ‘future proof’ Kia cee'd, emphasising the 7 year warranty. TV advertising has also been used to relay the message that Kia is an official FIFA partner.

Making a message memorable to a large audience is not always easy. It is difficult to tailor a promotion to a specific group of consumers through above-the-line promotions. This is because it is viewed by a mass audience with different tastes and needs. Above-the-line promotion is also very expensive.


Below-the-line methods are very specific, memorable activities focused on targeted groups of consumers. They are under the control of the organisation. Kia uses these techniques to target clearly defined consumer groups rather than a mass audience like its above-the-line activity. The purpose of these activities has been to develop the brand by creating awareness and building a brand profile. Below-the-line methods include:

  • sponsorship
  • sales promotions
  • public relations
  • personal selling
  • direct marketing.

Sponsorship and social media

Sponsorships have helped to raise Kia’s profile amongst key target markets. Kia has also developed its relationships with consumers through public relations. Traditional press releases work alongside newer forms of marketing. For example, Kia uses digital and social media as an integral part of its below-the-line activity. This helps to create relationships with customers online.

These channels include blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook. Kia also has its own YouTube channel to emphasise its brand presence amongst target consumers. This enables them to develop eCRM, allowing Kia to collect data from customers and use it in a variety of ways for interaction. It also helps to create the basis for viral marketing. This is when messages are so widely received that they are passed on either electronically or by word of mouth to other customers.

Kia also supports a variety of environmental issues, shown through below-the-line promotions. For example, Kia works in partnership with Trees for Cities, an independent charity which aims to create social cohesion through inspiring people to plant and love trees. Environmental issues are high on public agenda. Partnerships like these are an important way for Kia to demonstrate its commitment to supporting public concerns.

Kia Motors | Using sports marketing to engage with consumers