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Mazda: Positioning A Product Line

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The role of integrated marketing communications in the marketing of the Mazda Protegé was to target a younger generation of drivers who preferred sporty features and wanted to stand out amongst other coupes and sedans. Doner undertook the idea of positioning the Mazda Protegé as the new “it” vehicle to drive for young and individualistic females. The marketing team targeted young professional women in their television commercials, who ages ranged from early 20s to mid 30s and promoted euro-chic styling, room for friends and cool features of the car. The CKS Group created the Protegé section within Mazda’s website to promote the redesigned vehicle and launched “the world’s largest online automotive launch party” with banner ads linked to Mazda’s website which was shared on a number of web sites and portals such as Yahoo, Excite, AOL’s Autocenter, CarPoint, and MTV.

Once on the website, you had a section with current information about the Protegé’s features and Mazda also mailed a CD with music, movie reviews and interviews to people who requested more information. Each IMC element used to market the Mazda Protegé resulted an increase in perceptions of the Protegé on key attributes such as overall quality, reliability, and dependability. Mazda’s decision to drop the “Get In. Be Moved’ tagline for the Protegé and adopt the “Zoom-Zoom” theme for its advertising was one of their company’s best moments. The “Zoom-Zoom” phrase with the combination of a lively Jamaican-toned jingle gave the brand more recognition than ever before. By integrating the “Zoom-Zoom” phrase and music in ads for other Mazda models, which resulted in increases in advertising awareness for the brand. The new tagline fulfilled the idea of using a unified branding effort without weakening Mazda’s overall brand image.

The strategy Mazda is using to advertise the new MAZDA6 sports sedan is targeting consumers who are in their mid-30s, car enthusiast, although not to the extreme, and who live an active lifestyle for MAZDA6’s marketing strategy. The advertising team followed this approach by designing commercials to reflect a more “grown-up” approach and positioned the car as a refined, sporty alternative to its similar competitors. Mazda decided to construct a deal with ESPN in pursuit of reaching their designated target, part of the deal was to advertise the MAZDA6 through ESPN’s various media including ESPN Magazine, TV, radio and the Internet as well as in ESPN Zone restaurants. The IMC program for the MAZDA6 showcased an extensive public relations campaign, direct mail, interactive media, CDs, and a web site. I agree with the decision to use a more mature and less playful approach for the MAZDA6 because it aligns itself with the theme used to appeal to the driving enthusiast in everyone.

The ability for Mazda to segment the market into different age groups is a strategic way to advertise certain models to certain age groups all while expressing the idea that everyone is still a driving enthusiast. The recommendations I would make to Mazda regarding its integrated marketing communications strategy as the company moves forward is to ditch the CDs and direct mail, Mazda can use the funds allocated for these resources to other advertising channels such as Instagram and Twitter. Better communication with customers through direct social media is a much more effective way to reach the right market target. Partnering up with video streaming companies like Hulu and Netflix to advertise short ads can be beneficial in exposing the brand to the new generation of TV viewers. Another possibility might be incorporating future Mazda vehicles in next-generation video games to create some buzz about a particular car that may showcase the following year.

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