Kia’s missing pacifier Super Bowl ad is an odd choice amid child labor allegations
Kia’s Georgia assembly plant is supplied by companies that have been convicted of repeatedly employing “oppressive child labor.”
by sebastian bell
Kia today revealed the first sneak peek of its upcoming Super Bowl LVII ad. The brand released a single image of a children’s pacifier on the floor, captioned “Find it on 12.2.23,” a reference to the date of the annual playoff football game. The Korean brand will reportedly use its 14th Super Bowl commercial to promote the revamped 2023 Telluride. Updated for the new model year, Kia will ramp up production of the SUV at its West Point, Georgia, plant in September, according to Russell Wager, Kia America’s vice president of marketing.
However, the choice of an item like the pacifier that is closely associated with children is notable, given the reported investigations into Kia’s US supply chain for violations of child labor law. While the brand itself hasn’t been accused of employing child labor, and it’s unclear if child-made parts have been earmarked for the Telluride specifically, Alabama parts manufacturers that supply both Kia and Hyundai have been guilty of violating child labor laws.
More: Child labor allegedly used at two more Hyundai suppliers in Alabama
Reports of these violations at the US facilities of Korean parts suppliers such as SMART Alabama SLC (a Hyundai subsidiary) and SL ALabama began to surface in 2022. The latter supplier was later found guilty of repeatedly employing “oppressive child labor” for the Department of Alabama. Labour.
The companies are accused of hiring children as young as 12 to work at their plants. While Hyundai Motor Company (parent of the Hyundai and Kia brands) said it would “sever ties” with the two companies in October, those commitments were later retracted after the corporation said SMART and SL had taken corrective action. Since then, Reuters reports that two new suppliers, Hwashin and Ahin, are also under investigation for violations of the child labor law.
Although Kia and Hyundai say they prohibit the use of child labor in their factories, and neither has been accused of employing children in their assembly plants, if the parts that make up the vehicles that come out of their plants have been made by hand children’s work is less clear.
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So as a symbol of lost childhood, the pacifier used in Kia’s teaser campaign is a particularly powerful metaphor.