The all-new 2014 Kia Soul compact SUV will make its European debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, before going on sale across Europe early next year.

Its predecessor, launched at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, became something of an icon, largely due to the Kia Soul Hamster Commercials which featured in our Top 10 Social Video Campaigns for 2010 and 2011.

kia-sould-share-some-soulkia-soul-new-way-to-roll-G1Kia certainly knows how to make a viral ad.

The 2011 ‘Party Rock Anthem feat. LMFAO’ is the third most-watched automotive ad in YouTube history having achieved 21 million views with 1,839,028 social shares, while the 2010 ‘Black Sheep’ video climbed to 6.5 million views and 560,783 shares. The 2012 ‘In My Mind’ commercial scored a paltry 1.4 million views, perhaps indicating audiences were tiring of the Hamster theme. Or maybe not.

So, for 2014 there’s an all new Kia Soul, inspired by the 2012 Kia Track’ster concept. It’s a little larger and more grown-up, with better manners too, being based on the latest Kia cee’d platform. Kia say it rides and handles better with a more refined on-road behaviour. As before it’s a soft-roader SUV, with ride height and ground clearance the only similarities with a proper off-roader.

There’s the same upright stance, squared shoulders, wraparound greenhouse and high-mounted tail lights, so Kia have wisely chosen not to mess with something that clearly resonates with the buying public. But it features a new interior with higher quality materials and a more driver-focused design.

The Soul’s new bodyshell is 29% stiffer than before due to a comprehensive redesign of its soundproofing – the resulting decrease of 3dB in interior noise levels should make it a nicer place to roll, even for Hamsters.

And talking of Hamsters, they’re back in a new commercial with Lady Gaga which is simply rocketing up the viral charts. The ad follows the Kia Hamsters on a journey of transformation, turning themselves from their frumpy overweight former selves into a trio of lean fit lotharios.

Agency David & Goliath enlisted the help of Grammy Award-winning artist Lady Gaga who contributes her new single, “Applause” as the campaign’s theme. The ad will make its broadcast debut during this Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards immediately following Lady Gaga’s first-ever live performance of the song.

2014 Kia Soul Hamster Commercial (Lady Gaga “Applause” Official Song)

“When the first Soul arrived on the scene, everyone at Kia believed we had a hit on our hands but we didn’t realize how big that hit was going to be, and our year-over-year success is a direct result of the hamster commercials entertaining the young and young-at-heart with their baggy clothes, excellent taste in music and slick dance moves,” said Michael Sprague, marketing & communications boss of Kia Motors America.

In less than 24 hours the 2014 Kia Soul “Applause” commercial has already exceeded 100,000 views and will likely climb above the first million by the weekend. If the new Kia Soul is anything as popular as the ad, then their on to another winner.

Kia will have two cars on show at the IAA Frankfurt, one of which will wear a new SUV Styling Pack, featuring piano black bumper garnish, side skirts, wheel arches and black painted roof.

When the car goes on sale in 2014, buyers will be able to choose between three different roof colours – black, white and red – as well as 11 exterior paint finishes. The company will offer a choice of petrol and diesel engines including the latest versions of Kia’s 1.6-litre GDi petrol and CRDi diesel power plants.