Kia's new Super Bowl ad puts a futurist spin on the notion of man's best friend.
The 60-second spot, titled "Robo Dog," will air during the big game on Feb. 13, but the 3rd hour of TODAY crew got a sneak peek of the heartwarming ad.
The commercial begins with a robotic puppy looking out the window of an electronics store with sad eyes as he sees a man petting a real dog on the sidewalk.
Then, he perks up when he sees another man unplugging his Kia EV6 vehicle from a charging station. When the man drives away, Robo Dog is determined to track him down and sneaks out of the store to chase after him.
The robotic pup dodges pedestrians and other obstacles as he runs after the car while Bonnie Tyler's emotional song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” plays.
All that running around starts to drain Robo Dog's battery, but he still has a few tricks up his sleeve, and he hops on an elevator and travels up to the roof of a building. Once he spots the car driving by, he jumps off the roof (on his last bit of battery), aiming for the car's sunroof.
When Robo Dog wakes up, the driver is kneeling over him after plugging him into the car to charge him up. Soon, he's all better and sitting in the passenger side, sticking his head out the window and barking.
According to a press release, it took animators more than 1,900 hours to create Robo Dog, and the ad itself took more than six months to develop.
This is Kia's 13th Super Bowl spot and highlights the company's all-electric Kia EV6, the brand's first battery electric vehicle. Kia also has plans to release 10 additional electrified models by 2026.
“To introduce over 100 million viewers to the Kia EV6, we wanted to juxtapose the future with the emotions we all know and understand today- the love that can be shared between a human and an animal,” said Russell Wager, Kia America's vice president of marketing, in a statement.
To create Robo Dog, the production team did their homework and studied footage of dogs playing. They also interacted with one of the crew members' 14-week-old Labrador retriever puppy to make sure Robo Dog's movements were realistic.
Kia is hoping to raise awareness about pet adoption as part of the ad's marketing campaign and is launching a “Robo Dogmented Reality” mobile web experience on Feb. 9 in partnership with the Petfinder Foundation.
Pet lovers will be able to scan a QR code with their mobile device to see Robo Dog in their home and picture what a real pet would look like in their space.
“Countless animals need loving and forever homes and we hope to place many of them over the coming weeks. The human-animal bond is vitally important and can bring years of happiness, comfort and companionship to both the animal and owner,” Petfinder Foundation Executive Director Toni Morgan said in a statement.