Does Mazda “Zoom. Zoom” in new ads from its new ad agency?
Not so much.
WPP Group won the first-bundled North American creative and media review for Mazda last summer. Creative from the newly-formed and dedicated TeamMazda shop has been starting to show up on television.
The commercials start out stark, using cardboard shapes on white backgrounds to accentuate points about a Mazda. Big bold words also appear on the stark backgrounds.
One of the latest spots shows an elephant shaped out of corrugated cardboard and on little blue wheels responding poorly to headwinds. The ad points out that Mazda’s crossover design is much sleeker than many elephant-like suvs out there since it’s more aerodynamic.
Here’s an earlier commercial, called “Cookie Cutter,” for the Mazda3i Sport using the same cardboard & lettering techniques and featuring the music of Pretty Ricky
This work reminds me a bit of Ford’s F-150 pickup work, from WPP sibling TeamDetroit. Probably no surprise since Team Mazda hired away some key folks from TeamDetroit.
These Mazda spots don’t really give viewers a crystal-clear idea exactly what the brand stands for. They don’t really capture Mazda’s fun-to-drive, “Zoom. Zoom” soul. They leave you cold.
To make matters worse– some Tier Three ads, or those of individual dealers, are simply awful. Check out this President’s Day Sale ad for Brown Mazda in Toledo, Ohio
Other carmakers have wrestled with their all-over-the-map Tier Three ads before, so hopefully Mazda can come up with a solution.
All of this makes you wonder why Mazda opted for a review last year and decided to drop its agency since 1997, Doner in Southfield, Michigan.
Oh right, at the time Mazda CMO Don Romano said the automaker wanted “to consolidate to get greater focus and efficiencies.” He also said he wanted “more focus on brand strategy so we can’t deviate so easily.”
Romano said WPP’s analytical capabilities will help Mazda quickly figure out whether its ad efforts are working and if not, they can be changed.
We hope TeamMazda has more up its creative sleeves.
Mazda products are STILL better than its advertising.
The brand deserves much better.
MAKING TRACKS: Gunnar Wilmot, moves into the office of CEO and Partner at The Ad Store in Manhattan. Wilmot retired (young) more than a year ago after 25 years at IPG, where he headed Gotham, McCann Detroit, and had been global account director on General Motors’ account at McCann.
Find me on Twitter @jhal2001