Mazda Motor Corp. plans an advertising campaign designed to make shoppers think of the carmaker as a full-line producer with a broad range of models.
The company says its research has identified a need for the commercials. U.S. customers typically knew the brand, but not all of the models and their attributes, say the automaker's advertising executives.
Mazda will launch the campaign next month as part of its advertising during the Olympics in Athens, Greece. Mazda will have commercials on the network broadcast of the Olympics but is not an official sponsor of the games.
The campaign will continue beyond the Olympics. It will include 30- and 60-second TV spots, cinema and print ads and a related promotion.
"It will become a component of our overall plan," says Bill Gordon, director of consumer insight marketing communications at Mazda North American Operations.
The "full-line" campaign could account for "maybe 10 percent to 20 percent" of Mazda's ad schedule, Gordon says.
In the commercials, actors portraying Mazda's young target consumers are shown hang gliding and taking part in other outdoor activities, Gordon says.
The commercial ends with the actors congregating in their cars. That allows Mazda to show its full line of 10 vehicles.
Gordon says Mazda did not want to show the cars standing still in a showroom. "It's all about emotion in motion," he says.
Michael Bay, director of Pearl Harbor, directed the commercials. Mazda's agency, Doner of Southfield, Mich., produced them.
Mazda used a research tool called funnel analysis, which measures whether consumers are aware of the brand in general terms, and then narrows the focus to test awareness of specific attributes and models.
In marketing parlance, "Our funnel collapsed," Gordon says.
Mazda tested the ad campaign idea with a focus group on the West Coast.
"When people were asked beforehand, they were aware Mazda made a couple of sedans and some sporty cars," he says.
"Once they were exposed to the product, they knew we made a much stronger line."
Mazda has tried before to make Americans aware of its entire lineup. The company has just concluded a multiweekend ride-and-drive campaign called "Rev it Up." In 15 markets nationwide, consumers were invited to drive Mazdas and rival models around a track. Prizes were given to drivers with the fastest times.
About 5,000 people participated in each weekend event. Mazda executives say participants left with a more positive impression of the brand.