IRVINE, Calif. -- Fifteen years after coining the slogan "Zoom Zoom" to pitch its cars to customers who see driving as a pleasure and not a chore, Mazda Motor Corp. is hoping to refine its fun-to-drive message by launching its biggest U.S. marketing campaign in two years under a new tagline: "Driving Matters."
As a small, independent automaker, Mazda lacks the name recognition and marketing dollars of rivals like Honda and Toyota. But executives hope a round of emotionally charged advertising will draw customers to its pint-sized CX-3 crossover and a redesigned version of the iconic MX-5 Miata roadster.
"When we go into a focus group, we do a first opening statement. 'When I say Mazda, what do you think of?'" said Russell Wager, vice president of U.S. marketing at Mazda. "Nine times out of 10 they say 'Zoom Zoom,'" he added, banging a table for emphasis. "Then I'll ask them to explain to me what 'Zoom Zoom' means, and I'll get 6 or 7 different answers. That's what Driving Matters is supposed to address. It's supposed to solidify what 'Zoom Zoom' means to people."
Mazda will begin its push Friday with a 60-second spot called "A Driver's Life" that will air on television and in movie theaters nationwide.
Narrated in sentimental rhyme, the advertisement shows a man's life arc from one sports car to another. He drives a beat-up MX-5 Miata roadster through college. When he gets married, he buys a Mazda3 for practicality's sake, followed by a CX-5 crossover to fit a growing family. In middle age he buys a new MX-5 because it “reminds you of when you were you," as the actor Aaron Paul, best known for his role in the television series "Breaking Bad," says in a voiceover.