We were a bit surprised to read this story on Waxy.org about a none too subtle viral ad campaign by Mazda. Recently all types of companies have launched alternative marketing to subtly advertise their products. Often a seemingly none product oriented site or game is really a promotional campaign for a specific seller. This seemingly "Halloween" oriented blog by someone in NYC does little to hide the fact that it's only two entries are about video that just happens to feature Mazda3s doing some crazy stuff. In one ad a Mazda3 without a driver tries to imitate a skateboarder doing an extreme jump then crashing. In another the car attempts to breakdance of all things. And in the most egregious of them all is a Clockwork Orange derived take on what modern teenagers would like to do in a Mazda 3 on a crazy Halloween eve. To say that ad scared me is an understatement. The fact that Mazda is doing this to capture some sort of youth market is kind of weak.

Mazda adI say this as a big fan of the direction Mazda is going with their vehicle lineup. Their marketing is just not hitting the right target, especially for the Mazda 3. I?d rather see the first two ads on an official Mazda site or on TV. The skateboarding one is almost funny. The Clockwork Orange ad is just way off. But be upfront about it, not using some fake site to ?stir? excitement.
How about this for Mazda 3 ads: Target them at good teenagers. Parents have to buy the $15,000 and up vehicle regardless so you might as well appeal to them too. Have a teenage girl working her ass of in school or something and dreaming of partying in the car with her friends. Then dad gives her the car for good behavior. She?s all excited to go out only to find the garage empty. Dad?s out joyriding.

I know that?s not too original but hey I just came up with it in five minutes. The Mazda3, if you want it to be a car for young teenage guys, is easy. Show the Mazda Rev It Up event from last summer when anyone could go drive modified 3s around a track. That was a great event and showing a group of teenage buddies hitting the track, while probably equally scary to parents as the sick Clockwork Orange ad, will probably appeal to buyers more.

In the end, people hate being talked down to in advertising. I don?t mind viral ads but be more creative than this, launch something bigger, grander. Waxy has some good examples on its site of what a good viral ad campaign can do. Mazda has a ways to go.

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