Did Kia Super Bowl commercial celebrate or insult rural Georgians?

Ok, teachers and parents: Does the Kia Super Bowl commercial about its plant and workers in West Point, Ga., insult rural Georgia or celebrate it?

Does it encourage children in rural classrooms to aim for the stars or accept the limits of their geography and possibilities?

Kia posted the commercial on YouTube with this introduction: “This year, we’re honoring the great unknowns. People who work hard and make incredible things. People who Give It Everything.”

Among the statements made by the young boy narrating the TV commercial: “We’re not famous. There are no stars in the sidewalk for us. No statues in our honor. We are just a small Georgia town of complete unknowns.”

Social media seems divided, as these tweets reflect:

Gov, Brian Kemp: Thanks @Kia for highlighting your investment in West Point. Hardworking Georgians, and corporate partners like Kia, are why GA is the #1 state for business. 

Adweek: Celebrating small-town America? Awesome. But Kia somehow managed to make its ad sound like a funeral dirge. They went for empowering and landed on depressing. 

Attorney General Chris Carr: Proud to have @Kia right here in our backyard and appreciate all they have done not only for West Georgia but our entire state. 

Kevinbiege: I don’t hate much but I hate that Kia commercial. “We’re just nobodies from the sticks but what defines us is what we make.” That’s so deeply offensive. It’s like an ad written by some LA exec who refers to the middle of the country as “flyovers.”

Frankly, I am undecided about the commercial. But the use of a child narrator struck a wrong note to me.

Childhood should be about big dreams and high hopes. But resignation and abandoned dreams color this narration. The commercial might have proven less off-putting if the speaker was an adult rather than a child. 

Your view? Here is the commercial if you missed it during that exciting Super Bowl.

About the Author

Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.
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