LONDON — Kia has tapped M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment to lead global marketing and communications supporting the company’s partnership with tennis great Rafael Nadal.

The agency won the business in a competitive review. Under the deal, M&C Saatchi is focused on leveraging Kia’s 16-year partnership with Nadal to engage consumers through activations, despite the Covid pandemic keeping sports fans at home.

There was no incumbent agency, as the remit is a new one for Kia. The automaker, however, works with a number of agencies around the world including Zeno in the US and 20:20 MSL in India.

M&C Saatchi is currently planning activations around January’s Australian Open, a Kia partner since 2020. The firm already executed two other campaigns — one centered on Nadal’s training and the other ahead of the French Open in October.

“With their global brand-building expertise and creative ambition, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment is well suited to help take our 16-year partnership with Rafa to a new level of engagement with fans, despite the physical distancing challenges that persist around the world,” said Kia head of brand experience Michael Choo. "We look forward to working closely together to bring Rafa’s inspiration to as many people as possible in fresh, innovative ways.”