IRVINE, CA: Mazda is planning to launch a campaign next month focused on sharing the brand's heritage and unique manufacturing techniques with consumers.
The “Game Changers” initiative, the brand's largest advertising campaign in 13 years, will highlight historical figures who thought of new, unconventional ways of doing things. These visionaries will include Olympic gold medalist Dick Fosbury, who developed the back-first approach to the high jump in 1968.
“Fosbury didn't invent the high jump, he invented an entirely new way of doing the high jump, in the same way Mazda didn't invent the car, so we invented an entirely new way of looking at what we consider to be transportation,” explained Jeremy Barnes, director of US PR and brand experience for Mazda North America Operations.
Throughout the campaign, Mazda will showcase its vehicles' features, such as its fuel-efficient Skyactiv Technology, which is part of the new 2014 Mazda6. The effort is initially US-focused, with the possibility of expanding it to other markets. Budget information for the campaign was not disclosed.
Barnes said the “Game Changers” program is a way “for people to think Mazda is a company that does things differently.”
He added that the company's consumers tend to fall into the younger, tech-savvy category.
One of the campaign's main objectives is to build brand awareness and get people to consider Mazda when buying a new car.
“People don't think poorly of Mazda, they just don't think of Mazda enough, so the biggest challenge is getting on that shopping list,” explained Barnes.
Hill+Knowlton Strategies, which has been Mazda's PR agency partner for more than 35 years, has worked with the company to raise awareness of the campaign through media and consumer engagement. Garage Team Mazda, part of WPP Group, handled creative.
Aside from press outreach, Mazda used an “inside-out” communications strategy, where it rolled the campaign out to employees first using the words “courage, creativity, and conviction,” Barnes added.
The hope is that staffers will become brand advocates and go about their business with those attributes, or use the words when describing the Mazda vehicles.
Mazda will also hold experiential events where the public will be able to test-drive vehicles.
Barnes added that communications has been a major part of the campaign since the planning stages.
“It's not unusual for PR to be a part of the marketing department, but I think what makes it successful is that we do have a seat at the table in the creation of messages,” he said.
Mazda's “Zoom-Zoom” tagline, which was created in 2000, will remain an integral part of the brand, noted Barnes.