Launch websites are all about communicating the strengths of a new product. They typically have several key elements common across every brand. A few navigational links are provided highlighting the product’s key feature set like safety, performance, or technology. A limited photo gallery exists and some link to keep interested consumers updated about the product, when it hits dealerships or another model type is available.
Basically, these sites are placeholders for the shopping experience content and a place to drive media traffic to or to give early consumers more information. A product’s campaign plan is usually set by this time and you should see a site that leverages the print and TV campaign.
The Kia Forte follows that model for the most part. The site showcases the car’s strengths and hammers the message throughout that the Kia Forte has class leading fuel-efficiency and horsepower.
I explored the site seeing many formulaic elements until I reached the Gallery and that’s when I ran into the strangest thing I think I’ve ever seen on a vehicle website: The Turtlecock.
“Meet the Turtlecock. An impressive fusion of style and safety. Although incredibly rare, it has much in common with the Kia Forte, which offers advanced standard features, distinctive design and class-leading standard safety equipment.” (see image at top of article)
Maybe Turtlecock means something else at Kia but it has a more familiar definition I found online:
"Turtlecock (tûr´tl•koˇk) n. A term used that denotes a man who is posessor of a cock that looks small, or very small (may even be hidden by a belly), when unerect; but once erect (comes out of the shell in essence) the cock is of a decent size.
Often referred to as growers not showers”
Now I know that some random online definition is no Webster’s, but this is a well-known slang term. Though, maybe this is intentional as the Forte is rather tiny at first sight yet impressive when you spend some quality time with the car.
Didn’t someone at Kia or Kia’s agency realize what a turtle cock is or at least Google it? Part of me wonders if this was some kind of dare in the creative department to see if turtle cock could get approved all the way through launch.
Whatever the case, it definitely ranks as one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen on an automotive product launch site. I just won’t be planning on downloading it as a wallpaper which, by the way, Kia lets me do.
Looking beyond the species breeding: Turtlecock, Horsephant, and Cheetamel (browse the site’s gallery if you wish to know more), each product area features a short documentary-like commercial using historic clips about performance, the evolution of engine design, and the launch of Sputnik. It’s a rather mundane concept but hey it’s a Forte, not the most exciting car in the world and probably with a very limited advertising budget.
Finally, each product section also includes a nice “Compare” button where you can evaluate the Forte’s strengths against the segments two key competitors: Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. This is far more useful than learning about a Horsephant and does convey the product’s positioning rather nicely in a simple, easy way for consumers.
If any of you were involved with this project, please let us know what the person won that got turtle cock into the gallery. I hope it was good