IRVINE, CA: Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) have launched a nationwide competition to drive environmental action among high-school and college students.
The SCA/Mazda "Conservation in Action Contest" challenges students ages 15-25 to "think beyond the normal bounds" and envision new concepts in conservation, said Jay Amestoy, MNAO's VP of public and government affairs.
The contest, which runs through Dec. 1, calls for students to submit conservation-oriented, creative essays meant to spur new dialogue, practices, and action, Amestoy said. Students may select the media of their choice.
Amestoy also noted that there would be "interesting prizes for those who rise to the top." Winners will attend SCA's EarthVision youth summit in April, and one student will take home $10,000 and a 2008 Mazda3.
PR efforts , coordinated between SCA, Mazda, and the latter's AOR, Hill & Knowlton, comprise "a full-on national push to encourage students to sign up, and get as many entries as we can," said Eric Booth, VP and Mazda account lead at H&K Irvine.
Efforts also include a back-to-school campaign directed at educators in both general market and Hispanic communities, Booth said. A postcard-size mailing will be sent to high schools and colleges across the country, with a particular emphasis on diverse schools.
Outreach will also extend to Mazda's nationwide dealer network, mostly via direct mail, in-store collateral, and corporate releases.
Mazda has been involved with the Charlestown, NH-based youth-conservation group for the past decade, underwriting its student-intern program in national parks, forests, and monuments across the US. This year -- in concurrence with SCA's 50th anniversary -- the Irvine, CA-based automaker "decided to take a fairly major step further," Amestoy said.
But the contest also provides an opportunity for Mazda to showcase its own commitment to environmental sensitivity.
"It calls attention to the fact that we have clean, conservation-conscious vehicles like [the Mazda3]," Amestoy said. "That helps underscore what Mazda's all about."