Mazda has a clear brand idea – defy convention. In Taiwan, Mazda’s marketing communication strategy places heavy focus on communicating the brand’s values, aiming to drive sales by building deep emotional connections between the brand and consumers.
While the 2014 brand campaign, featuring American Olympic high jumper Dick Fosbury, successfully conveyed the brand’s spirit of defying convention, it did not perform as well in terms of boosting sales and showroom traffic. We realized that the 2015 masterbrand campaign had little relevance to local consumers, and what’s more, did not make any reference to Mazda’s Japanese heritage, which is also core to the brand. That’s a particularly critical issue across Asia’s markets, where country of origin matters to consumers - and in the case of Japan, conveys a host of positive attributes, such as innovation, quality and superior technology.
For 2015 we created an integrated campaign around baseball legend Sadaharu Wang, a Taiwanese-Japanese who played in the Japanese professional baseball league in the ‘60s and ‘70s and holds the world record for most lifetime home runs. Wang, known for a distinctive “flamingo leg” stance was the epitome of a challenger that defied convention to carve his own path, making him a perfect spokesperson for MAZDA’s brand spirit in baseball-crazy Taiwan.
The Japanese angle to the story, meanwhile, served to underscore the brand’s origins while fanning national Taiwanese pride. A short digital film was produced that brought Wang’s story and outlook to life, along with three cut down versions. The online films were leveraged as the main communication tool. A series of on ground events supported the campaign, including inspire panels where celebrities were invited to share their defy convention stories. Finally, an international baseball game brought Taiwanese and Japanese youth together, as a rousing climax to the campaign.
The results were extraordinary, creating significant online engagement and massive buzz, both locally and internationally. Most significantly, the campaign raised showroom traffic and sales up with extremely positive results.