Time Travel with Mazda at ad:tech

Posted by staff on November 6th, 2009 at 6:00 pm
Written by Heather Smith

I attended the session, “Creative Showcase II: Cool Stuff - That works!” at ad:tech on November 5 - and was totally impressed with the quality of information, the topic and the statistics. Once again, the panelists were giving “thumbs up” to the blogging community for their part in helping execute tremendously successful advertising campaigns!

How do you make ‘automotive’ appeal to the masses - especially the 19 - 25 demographic in Quebec? With futuristic, interactive, geocaching, intriguing marketing of course!

Without revealing the brand, (Mazda) a huge campaign was launched on the premise that ‘Zera’ from 2333 came to Earth to find the “Essence” of life. From blogging, to print, to street, to billboard, to Facebook, to interactive television, the story line was played out involving a huge number of players who were seeking the “keys” to help Zera protect our planet which was to become ‘homogenized’ in the future, thereby eliminating joy from life.

As the viral campaign progressed, new, unexpected elements were added as needed by the campaign team, creating even more intrigue as clues to find the 33 geocached ‘keys’ were revealed over a 33 day period. The campaign exceeded all projections and Mazda emerged as the clear winner as people realized they were vying for the ‘keys’ to the possibility of winning a new car.


Mazda “Put the Consumer in the Driver’s Seat” proving automotive advertising could be engaging, exciting and innovative. On the last day of the campaign Zera successfully found the ‘Essence’ of life and one lucky player held the key to a new 2010 Mazda 3.

I love hearing the “behind the scenes” details and statistics of this type of campaign. Gorilla marketing, live streaming video, public events and stunts, web games and contests surprised the contestants and the public at every turn and twist. The organizers developed social media strategy via television, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and websites becoming part of the cultural conversation.

This extremely successful campaign proved fun and practically can exist in the automotive industry, thereby making Mazda the number one brand in the automotive market in Canada during the campaign period. The Mazda Quebec market share was 9% vs US 2%.

The result: Mazda ran out of inventory - proving the advertising campaign was extremely successful in the automotive industry in a economic downturn.

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