Kia gets aspirational in “tough” Super Bowl spot

What would you tell your younger self trying to make your way through the world? Maybe heap a little wisdom and encouragement on the kid you once were? For Josh Jacobs, who rose from homelessness in middle school to football stardom as an Oakland Raider, it is an inspiring message of hope and determination, that the Reel 360 team loves, in Kia Motors’ Super Bowl spot for the all-new 2021 Seltos SUV.

Th centerpiece of the campaign is an aspirational 60-second spot debuting today, titled “Tough Never Quits” created by David&Goliath and directed by acclaimed Serial Pictures’ director John Hillcoat.

In the film we find a reflective Jacobs driving a Kia Seltos in his home state of Oklahoma and reflecting on a time when life was much more challenging and the odds were stacked against him.

As he asks, “I wonder what I would tell my younger self if I ever saw him?” he notices a young boy – representing a younger Josh Jacobs – running on the streets. The voiceover continues, “I’d tell him, Josh, it’s going to be hard growing up homeless…but you have to believe in yourself.” 

The two Josh’s share a ride in the Seltos through some of the places that made Josh who he is today. Eventually arriving at the field Josh first played at as a youngster. The film finally transitions from the Young Josh at the local field to the ‘present day Josh’ as he exits the tunnel at a stadium during a game. “Push Yourself to be someone and I promise someday you will,” are his final words of wisdom. Watch below:


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Yards Against Homelessness

Sharing Jacobs’ incredible story on advertising’s biggest stage inspired Kia to create the Yards Against Homelessness charitable initiative, an extension of the brand’s “Give It Everything” brand personality. Yards Against Homelessness continues Kia’s efforts to support and elevate America’s youth following the creation of “The Great Unknowns” scholarship last year.

With Yards Against Homelessness, Kia is pledging a $1,000 donation for every yard gained in the Super Bowl divided among three charity partners: Covenant House, Positive Tomorrows and StandUp for Kids.

As part of the initiative, on January 29th through February 16th, Super Bowl viewers and people throughout the U.S. are invited to make a donation by texting HOME to 41444 to help Kia and Josh Jacobs in the fight against youth homelessness. 

“Having a voice and standing for something gives brands permission to inspire true change,” said David Angelo, founder and creative chairman of David&Goliath. “And what better platform than the world’s largest stage to draw wide spread attention to the 4.2 million children living on the streets and to help give them hope by generating awareness and funds. I can’t image a better purpose for a brand than to share this amazing story of Josh Jacobs and how he was able to find his way through his toughest challenge. It’s giving proof that when you give it everything, anything is possible.”

“An ongoing tenet of Kia’s Give It Everything philosophy is to give back in meaningful ways, and we at Kia both admire and identify with Josh’s tenacity and determination,” added Russell Wager, director, marketing operations, Kia Motors America.  “The all-new Seltos is a powerful addition to Kia’s roster of tough and ready SUVs, and the idea behind ‘Tough Never Quits’ perfectly encapsulates what both Josh and Kia are all about.”

Tough Never Quits’– The Documentary

Additional elements of the integrated campaign include print, digital, social and outdoor, as well as the short form film “Tough Never Quits – The Documentary” [ explores the deeper story of Josh Jacobs and his early life on the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was raised by his father (alongside 4 siblings). 

The film features interviews with Josh Jacobs himself and his father, Marty, as well as key figures from Josh’s childhood, including the football coach who first spotted his raw talent. 

The documentary brings to life the reality of their daily life, which meant sometimes sleeping in their car. We’ll see the streets Josh walked, and the places he first learned to play football. At its heart, this is a moving, and often emotional, account of tough times and how hope can inspire greatness. 

“Given the struggles I faced growing up and Kia’s commitment to helping put an end to the homeless crisis facing America’s youth, it was an easy ‘yes’ when I was asked to participate in the campaign,” said Jacobs. “Now I ask that people nationwide join us and pledge whatever they can to help put an end to the epidemic of youth homelessness.”

Josh Jacobs’ story came full-circle on the day he bought his father a house, which unfolded in real-time during the production of the Super Bowl ad.


  • David Angelo Founder & Chairman  
  • Yumi Prentice President 
  • Mark Koelfgen Executive Creative Director/Copywriter  
  • Frauke Tiemann Group Creative Director/Art Director  
  • Ben Purcell Executive Creative Director/Copywriter  
  • John O’Hea Group Creative Director/Art Director  
  • Steve Clarke Group Creative Director/Copywriter  
  • Peter Watson Art Director 
  • Caleb Nyberg Copywriter 
  • Quinn Bokor Jr. Art Director 
  • Alex Lee Copywriter 
  • Bennett Austin Associate Creative Director/Art Director 
  • Nick Micale Associate Creative Director/Copywriter 
  • Paul Albanese Managing Director, Broadcast Production  
  • Curt O’Brien Executive Producer  
  • Justine Kleeman Executive Digital Producer 
  • Danielle Watchman, Senior Producer 
  • Genevieve Shah, Digital Producer 
  • Natalia Celis Jr. Producer  
  • Cara Nieto Executive Art Producer 
  • Natasha Royzina Director, Business Affairs  
  • Marlon Pineda Business Affairs Manager 
  • Amy Santana Associate Business Affairs Manager 
  • Donesh Olyaie Group Planning Director 
  • Jasmine Spraglin Senior Strategist 
  • Jeff Cannata Communications Planning Director 
  • Natalie Gomez Senior Communications Planner  
  • Hailey Kim Jr. Communications Planner 
  • Genie Lara Associate Director of Project Management 
  • Maddy Murphy Senior Project Manager  
  • Anna Carnochan Jr. Project Manager 
  • Jeff Moohr Managing Director  
  • Aleks Rzeznik Account Director  
  • Nicole Pressman Account Supervisor, National  
  • Annelise Lorenzo Management Supervisor, National  
  • Sarah Masket Management Supervisor, Digital  
  • Gabriella Mourad Account Executive, Digital 
  • Britney Bencomo Assistant Account Executive, Digital 
  • Russ Wortman Automotive Specialist/Kia Product Information Manager  
  • Peter Bassett Managing Director, Integrated Production & Technology Services 
  • Meagan Steinkamp, Digital Designer 
  • Kurtis Mirick, Digital Designer 

Production Company: Serial Pictures 

  • John Hillcoat Director  
  • Phillippe Le Sourd DP 
  • Violaine Etienne Founding Partner/Executive Producer  
  • Jennifer Gee Head of Production  
  • Tracy Broaddus Producer  

Editorial Company: Spinach 

  • Jonathan Carpio Executive Producer 
  • Patricia Gushikuma Producer 
  • Cristy Torres Producer 
  • Conor O’Neill Editor “Super Bowl” 
  • Rex Lowry Asst. Editor “Super Bowl” 
  • Adam Bright Editor “Sustain & Teaser” 
  • Marshall Thompson Assistant Editor “Sustain & Teaser” 

Color: MPC 

  • Mark Gethin Colorist “Super Bowl” 
  • Nate Seymour Color Assistant “Super Bowl” 
  • Diane Valera Producer “Super Bowl” 

Color: a52 Color 

  • Daniel de Vue Colorist “Sustain, Teaser” 
  • Corey Martinez, Dylan Bursick, Aaron Flickinger Color Assistants “Sustain, Teaser” 
  • Jenny Bright Producer “Sustain, Teaser” 
  • Thatcher Peterson Executive Producer “Sustain, Teaser” 

Post: a52 

  • Andy McKenna Visual Effects Supervisor  
  • Andrew Romatz CG Supervisor 
  • Adam Flynn, Kevin Stokes 2D VFX Artists 
  • Patrick Nugent Sr. Executive Producer 
  • Jillian Lynes Producer 

Music Company: South Music 

  • Ann Haugen EVP/Director of Production “Super Bowl” 
  • Ignacio Zas Producer “Super Bowl” 

Music Company: RNDM ORDR 

  • Guin Frehling Executive Producer “Teaser” 
  • Rory Doggett Creative Director “Teaser” 
  •  Rory Doggett Music by “Teaser” 

Sound Design Company: RNDM ORDR 

  • Guin Frehling Executive Producer “Super Bowl, Teaser” 
  • Rory Doggett Creative Director “Super Bowl, Teaser” 
  • Gus Koven Sound Designer “Super Bowl, Teaser” 
  • Nick Tuttle Assistant Sound Designer “Super Bowl, Teaser” 

Music Company: Barking Owl 

  • Kelly Bayett Creative Director “Sustain” 
  • Barking Owl Composer “Sustain” 
  • KC Dossett Producer “Sustain” 

Sound Design Company: Barking Owl 

  • Kelly Bayett Creative Director “Sustain” 
  • KC Dossett Producer “Sustain” 
  • Morgan Johnson Sound Designer “Sustain” 

Audio Post Studio: Margarita Mix  

  • Nathan Dubin Mixer/Engineer “Super Bowl” 
  • Whitney Morris, Paula Arnett Executive Producers “Super Bowl’ 
  • Brian Frank Operations Manager “Super Bowl” 

Audio Post Studio: Eleven  

  • Jeff Payne Mixer/Engineer “Sustain, Teaser” 
  •  Andrew Smith Asst Mixer “Sustain, Teaser” 
  •  Melissa Elston Executive Producer “Sustain, Teaser” 
  •  Imani Franklin Producer “Sustain, Teaser” 

Documentary Production and Editorial Company Spinach 

  • Steve Clarke/John O’Hea Directors 
  • Juan Pablo Digenio DP/Editor 
  • Danielle Watchman Senior Producer 
  • Carlie Naftolin Producer 
  • Jonathan Carpio Executive Producer 
  • Noah Smith Assistant Camera/Sound 

Documentary Color: Company3 

  • Sean Coleman Colorist 
  • Matt Moran Producer 

Documentary Post: Method Studios 

  • Aaron Neitz Lead Flame Artist 
  • Danielle Fowler Junior Flame Artist 
  • Connor Callaghan Executive Producer 
  • Kait Boehm Producer 

Documentary Music: Howling Music 

  • Ryan Claus, Joshua Frerichs Composers 
  • Ryan Claus, David Grow Producers 

Documentary Sound Mix: Margarita Mix, Santa Monica 

  • Jeff Levy Mixer/Engineer 
  • Whitney Morris, Paula Arnett Executive Producers 
  • Brian Frank Operations Manager 

SOURCE: David&Goliath