Back in January, we were among the first to leak that Mazda was piggybacking on General Motors' "Google Pontiac" campaign to clandestinely swipe some of the latter's advertising buying power. Buying Pontiac AdWords was a brilliantly cost-effective move, though critics derided the practice as deceitful.

Well, Mazda is now working up-front and directly with the Internet search engine meisters, this time promoting their new CX-7 crossover via Google Earth with the "Mazda CX-7 EarthSearch Sweepstakes Game." Via the press release, we learn that the CX-7's catchphrase will be: 'The SUV You Never Saw Coming™.'

The contest asks consumers to visit www.NeverSawItComing.com, where they will view a brief video that will give the their first clue as to the CX-7's mystery location. Would-be winners will then use Google Earth to figure out how to locate the CX-7 via a series of progressively difficult clues.

The Grand Prize is obviously the keys to a CX-7, but contestants will also have a shot at taking home prizes like an Apple Powerbook, a Magellan Roadmate 800 Sat-Nav, or a 30-gig Video iPod.

In related news, Mazda has now opened the books on its CX-7 configurator here.

[Source: Mazda]