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North America: RX-8 ads keep zoom in Mazda marketing

By Mark Rechtin
Automotive News / June 30, 2003

LOS ANGELES — While the reggae-pop theme music behind the “zoom-zoom” ad campaign is nowhere to be heard, Mazda’s launch of the RX-8 has the message clearly in mind.

The four-seat, rotary-powered sports car will get a TV, print and billboard campaign that will use the 2-year-old slogan frequently. It is whispered at the end of TV commercials, and both print and billboard ads prominently display the slogan.

But introducing a sports car into a shaky economy takes more than a clever jingle. So Mazda is playing up the car’s rotary engine heritage to separate it from such rivals as the Nissan 350Z and Porsche Boxster.

One TV teaser shows only a cutaway rotary engine spinning faster and faster. Another spot cuts from the rotary engine to the vehicle’s “freestyle” doors, while the voice-over intones: “No pistons, no pillars, no kidding.”

The third commercial, a 30-second spot, shows a man admiring his RX-8 and embracing it, while the car’s doors hug him in return and his wife looks on in disgust. The music accompanying this spot is not complete, but it likely will not be the “zoom-zoom” jingle.

Mazda will wait for the opening of the fall TV season before placing commercials on “Friends,” “CSI,” “The Simpsons” and “Law and Order.” Waiting until fall also gets Mazda away from competing against the deluge of year-end clearance commercials clogging the airwaves.

Mazda declined to state the advertising budget for the car.

The print ads will focus on “lad magazines” such as FHM and Maxim, as well as Wired and traditional automotive enthusiast publications. The ads will be heavy on copy that promotes the vehicle’s engine performance and doors.

Mazda also is throwing weight behind billboards with regionally themed tag lines.

In New York, a billboard brags that the RX-8 has “More room than your apartment.” In California wine country, the ad states, “May we suggest a nice red.” Airport area billboards will dictate that “Friends fly free” in the car. And some billboards will simply read, “zoom-zoom.”

Mazda also used product placement deals to expose the car at the Grammys, MTV Music Awards, “Fear Factor” and the action movie X-Men 2.

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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