CAMPAIGNS: Social Responsibility - KIA selects a novel new manoeuvre

Client: KIA Cars UK

Client: KIA Cars UK

PR Team: Synapse Communication

Campaign: Launch of 'Think Before You Drive'

Timescale: 2000-ongoing

Budget: Undisclosed (as cross discipline activity)

Korean automobile manufacturer KIA has taken the unprecedented step of launching a campaign to reduce dependency on the car. Its four-pronged campaign, called 'Think Before You Drive', marks the first time a car company has embarked on such an initiative.


To establish KIA's position within the motor industry through the launch of a major new social and environmental policy.

To highlight the responsible role the car could play in the creation of fully integrated transport solutions for the future.

Strategy and Plan

The campaign draws on all marketing disciplines, with the support of staff and the KIA dealership network. 'Think Before You Drive' is the banner under which all PR, marketing and advertising takes place.

The PR aspect of the campaign aims to augment the advertising and to attract authoritative partners and endorsers.

There are four elements to the campaign, some of which have been launched and some of which are due to launch later this year.

'Walking the Way to Health' is a five-year programme run by the British Heart Foundation and the Countryside Agency. It seeks to improve the health and fitness of those who take little exercise or who live in districts where poor health is particularly widespread. KIA decided to sponsor the scheme, to encourage people to consider walking as a viable, and valuable, alternative to car travel.

Developed in tandem with the RAC, the 'Risk Avoidance Programme' recognises that the majority of road accidents are caused by human error.

A course to raise awareness of the hazards of driving, including a practical on-the-road session, has been developed and is given free with every KIA Carens sold. Initial assessments suggest participants are up to three times less likely to have an accident.

KIA recognises the value of large MPVs for transporting families and groups. But research indicates that frequently there is only going to be one person inside the car - the driver. In response KIA has included a mountain bike with every Sedona sold to provide an alternative for short journeys.

'The Walking Bus' was launched during the last school term. It provides routes that give parents the opportunity for their children to walk to school under supervision.

The campaign, promoted by the Daily Express and also supported by the Pedestrians Association, is the first step in attempts to reverse the trend of children being driven to school.

It gives them the chance to exercise, reducing their exposure to traffic fumes and lowering the levels of road congestion and driver-stress in the morning. KIA also provides schools with high-visibility safety equipment.

Measurement and Evaluation

As elements of the campaign are still running, no formal evaluation has yet been conducted. However, media coverage has so far been positive.

The Times, Daily Express and Marketing, as well as medical, environmental and motoring publications have given the campaign the thumbs-up. Regional media have also covered the campaign.

Think Before You Drive has additionally attracted ministerial interest and the attention of NGOs keen to explore ongoing partnerships that can benefit the motoring industry.

The Walking Bus has so far engaged 100 schools. This is supported online via the KIA and Express websites, where free information packs can be downloaded.


Think Before You Drive is a hugely ambitious campaign. Discouraging people from driving is certainly a brave move for a car manufacturer to undertake, but its intention to change entrenched attitudes is already getting results.

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