Friday, November 2, 2007

One small step for Mazda, one giant leap for... well, Mazda

Seriously, Mazda, get a grip. So you won an award -- congratulations. Now have you ever heard the expression "act like you've been there before"?

Apparently not...

(Motor Trend trophy used as tuning fork)

Man: Come shine here with me

"Shine"? What does that mean in this context?

Chorus: Gotta make, gotta make it mine today

Woman: I'm finally free

You do realize this is a car you're singing about, and not the Bill of Rights?

Chorus: Gonna make, gonna make them stop and say... zoom, zoom, zoom! Yeah, zoom zoom zoom!

Shine on, man. You're free. Zoom zoom! This is nonsensical blather. How many seconds did this take somebody to write? And look at this scene: you have a gospel choir praising and clapping their hands around an SUV - is it some kind of weird cult? Are they about to sacrifice the car? It's eerily fake-looking and hopelessly overwrought.

Announcer: Designed, engineered and now celebrated... the "zoom zoom" way.

Yeah, the "zoom zoom" way. I'm guessing that means there's going to be a party at this guy's house?

I know Mazda's been doing this "zoom zoom" campaign for a while now. I think it makes more sense with the upbeat song and the little kid who says "zoom zoom." Call me crazy, but an 8-year old boy saying "zoom zoom" is more appropriate that a choir of adults doing the same. Recently, Mazda has taken this "zoom zoom" idea and let their imaginations run amok. Take, for example, this fetid, masturbatory "brand essence" video they put together:

(and please, for your sake, don't watch more than 30 seconds of this)

one day you're born.... the next big milestone.....

Crawling? Walking? First word?

you discover go zoom zoom

Get.... over.... yourselves. For fuck's sake, Mazda, the world does not revolve around your mid-level automobiles! This solipsism is inexcusable, even for a brand essence video that probably was never meant to be seen by the consumer.

Also the grammar in that above sentence is indescribably loathsome. Mazda, I think I hate you.

you grow up... acquire responsibilities.... (adults don't go zoom zoom).... but a lucky few never lost the spark.... you, perhaps?... guess what.... there's a car company... they love zoom zoom too

Yes, they do. They love zoom zoom a whole helluva lot. They love it like "pour millions and millions into using this moronic phrase in every piece of collateral we shit out for the next ten years" a lot.

The video continues in this fashion: cheesy, childish phrase, cornball lifestyle stock footage; another embarrassing line of copy, another painful slo-mo shot. I think it's funny that companies bother to define their advertising approach with these "setting-the-tone" presentations. It makes you realize that a large group of people actually put thought behind this. People with decades of experience, people with MBAs, people with art school training -- they all got together in a room and asked the question, "What does 'zoom zoom' really mean?" Then they talked about it as though it were a worthwhile discussion -- as though it would lead to some new way of selling more cars. As though the notion of a close-reading of "go zoom zoom" weren't just utterly absurd.

Mazda -- please go back to making boring, templated car commercials that talk about 0% APR and all-wheel-drive, or whatever. I know I said those kind of ads suck, but, dude, now that I've seen the alternative? Please just stop.


Windier E. Megatons said...

c12h22o11 and I just saw that ad last night and were complaining about it. What is the deal? Gospel singers? You realize that winning a Motor Trend award doesn't make you Jesus, right, Mazda?

Windier E. Megatons said...

And that branding video, well... ye gods. It makes Mazda sound like a brand idealized by kids who love cars and men in mid-life crises, when in fact it's neither. You know many teenagers with posters of the 626 above their beds? You ever see a guy tooling down the street in the Protege and think, "Someone's compensating for something!"

c12h22o11 said...

The commercial always feels sacrilegious and uncomfortable to me.

Andrew N.P. said...

Silly Windy. Winning a Motor Trend award makes Mazda better than Jesus. Have any of the Lord's designs won "SUV of the Year?" I don't think so!

As if blasphemy isn't bad enough, the brand essence video says that "these are the the only kind of cars worth building" and "these are the only cars worth driving." I know you're just trying to make your employees proud of the company, but what the hell, Mazda? Isn't this the sort of hubris that got people struck by lightning back in the day?

Anonymous said...

I think you all are's just a commercial and catchy at that! I actually like it all and don't have to look into something as I have a lot of better things to do.


Quivering P. Landmass said...

The PURPOSE of this blog is to point out bad ads (and, maybe in some small way, encourage people not to pay attention to them.) So, it's not that we don't have better things to be doing - it's that the writers of this blog CHOOSE to do this. It's kind of our thing. There are a lot of terrible ads out there, but woefully few critics. We're attempting to make a difference, albeit a small (and snarky) one.

Thank you for reading.

Anonymous said...

Being involved with working for an ad agency and in the creative world I LOVE the new mazda commercials, always have! I hardly would call it a bad ad, its catchy, its memorable, and its fun and enjoyable! I love hearing their good voices with an upbeat home! If what you do is critique bad commercials, go watch the empire rug commercials, or UPMC has a new one out where they are doing a psuedo interview, but seriously don't be busting mazda's balls because they have an extremely successful ad campaign that has not only had longevity but they maintain the zoom zoom identity yet they give it a fresh look without sacrificing the basics!

p.s. I know alot of people that love the zoom zoom commercials, I believe there is a zoom zoom cafe in chicago right by michigan ave, sit outside there and watch how many tourists are taking their pics in front of it while singing the zoom zoom commercial.... then tell me how unsuccessful it is

Quivering P. Landmass said...

You wouldn't, by any chance, happen to work for the ad agency that created the Mazda ads, would you?

In my post, I didn't say anything negative about the original "zoom zoom" ad. The ad I have a problem with is the one featured that depicts a gospel choir essentially worshiping a car -- seems a little pretentious and sick to me.

Now, if you like the campaign because of the "zoom zoom" song, then I will quote from Wikipedia:

The Zoom Zoom Zoom song performed by Serapis Bey (used in current commercials in Europe, Japan and South Africa) was recorded long before it became the official song for Mazda. It was recorded for the movie Only The Strong which was released in 1993. The Serapis Bay version is a cover version of a traditional Capoeira song, called "Capoeira Mata Um".

Mazda had squat to do with making that song.

Also, this "extemely successful ad campaign"? How about no sales growth during the entire time in which it's been running? It's true:

Man, doing 60 seconds of research before I make a comment is GRUELING work!

Anonymous said...

This commercial is horrible. Everyone should write to Mazda about it.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Thank you! Agreed.

Update: Saw this commercial again a few nights ago - they tweaked it ever so slightly. The line the female singer has "I'm finally free" is essentially inaudible, and they got rid of the seance-like smoke around the crowd at the end is gone. Maybe they got some feedback like "This commercial is offensive" and actually changed it up.

Anonymous said...

You guys gotta get a life, this is a great commercial! Totally fun and positive. To complain about a successful ad campaign that has, unfortunately for the naysers, incredibly long legs w/ the zoom zoom zoom idea. I bet these winging morons here can't put together ONE decent ad!

Quivering P. Landmass said...

I just want to say I (and Windier and c12h22o11) really appreciate everyone who reads this site. It was only meant as a means for the three of us to swap notes on bad ads and attempt to be funny. We're flattered whenever we get comments from others.

That said, in response to the most recent anonymous comment on this thread -- did you read my responses to earlier complaints? All of us here have lives and jobs and families and all of that. This is just a little hobby of ours. So, that point is invalid. As for the successfulness of this Mazda campaign, as I said EARLIER -- no sales growth in North America during its entire run. Now, feel free to fall in love with this campaign. I don't doubt some people sing "zoom zoom" all the time thinking about how absolutely transcendently awesome these ads are. But if you aren't driving a Mazda, then the Mazda company frankly doesn't give a shit (and most people aren't!) Did it win awards? I don't know, and I don't care if it did. Awards don't increase sales volume. This particular ad struck me as exceptionally terrible, which is probably why THEY changed it.

I don't really know what "winging morons" means, but we never claimed to be advertising wizards ourselves -- what we do is make fun of them. Rest assured that we are, each of us, gainfully employed (or gainfully in school) in careers that do not involve writing commercials.

Finally, it is the oldest, and lamest, comeback in the history of criticism to say "Oh, well you guys think you're so smart, why don't YOU go try and do it." Does Roger Ebert direct blockbusters? Was Bob Costas a professional baseball player? No, but no one doubts the legitimacy of their criticisms. Am I saying we're as insightful or as clever as Costas and Ebert? Of course not. But we deserve the right to make arguments for or against creative advertising material even if we aren't ourselves Creative Directors at Ogilvy & Mather or whatever.


RockTheTeaParty said...

bahahaha i never get tired of reading quivering and windier own the shit out of these losers