Mazda North American Operations is targeting an unusual customer for its restyled MPV minivan: parents who want pizzazz.
Two new commercials for the MPV are scheduled to debut on national TV Sept. 6. Most of the media buy is in network TV.
Although the targets are parents in their mid-30s with school-age children, the targets' individualistic outlooks set them apart.
'They like to experience new things. They love to drive and they search out the joy in life,' said Tim Blett, president of Mazda's advertising agency, Doner Automotive. 'Part of what they like is style, and this is a stylish minivan.'
Mazda zeroed in on its target customers at product and strategic insight clinics in the spring. Consumers were interviewed in an undisclosed number of North American cities.
The new MPV is different from competitors, said Richard Beattie, CEO of Mazda North American Operations. 'Our advertising for this important vehicle had to be just as distinctive, and Doner delivered.'
One group of family-oriented consumers in the clinics were more regimented, eating dinner and putting their children to bed every night at the same time, Blett said. The MPV targets, also family-oriented, were more flexible. Although they want to be great parents, they made more room for self-indulgence and fun.
'Our target sees the world a little different,' Blett said. The commercials use such lines as 'Remember the compliments. Forget the insults.' and 'Don't worry about the future.'
Both spots show a mom driving her two kids in the minivan, which is winding on a computer-generated coastal highway. Doner shot the background and then pasted the photos on blocks, a technique used for 1999 Protege spots and expanded to Miata spots this year.
The agency also learned in the clinics that Mazda's target customers watched specific programs on various networks, depending on the night of the week. On Mondays they watched Fox, which is why the MPV spots will appear during 'Ally McBeal.' On Thursdays, the buy is on NBC during 'Frasier' and 'ER.'
The campaign also includes some cable TV and hefty magazine and Internet components. It will run through early December. Print ads extend into spring. The MPV gets most of Mazda's ad spending until the arrival of its first sport-utility in mid-2000.
Mazda has said it hopes to boost its annual minivan sales to between 50,000 and 60,000. Through July 1999, Mazda sold 26,960 MPVs vs. 30,207 a year ago.