By on December 1, 2016

Mazda Dog

Mazda, which has seen its previously strong sales slip in Israel, feels the brand has developed a bum rap. Its once-exciting cars have become unworthy of praise in the Jewish republic — claims the company finds flagrantly objectionable.

So, rather than take the perceived abuse lying down, the automaker developed the “Prepare to be Amazed” campaign in response. Its essence isn’t that Mazda begs to differ with naysayers, but that the general public is simply wrong in its assumptions.

It’s the advertising equivalent of telling off the school bully while putting on a pair of sunglasses and moonwalking home.

The problem, as Mazda puts it, is that the brand’s popularity made it “the queen of the roads,” and that ubiquity also made it appear dull to consumers.  The company says that, as a result, it was forced to address “all the wrong conceptions that are associated to the brand.”

Setting consumers straight on the matter is ex-Stig Ben Collins, three drunken lab assistants, a picture-taking dog, and four ludicrous experiments staged atop an unfinished bridge. All of the spots begin with the grateful acknowledgment of of a boring — but positive — trait attributed to Mazda before the tackling of a much harsher criticism.

It may be first time I’ve ever witnessed a company recognizing its own condemnations while also telling potential customers that they have no idea what they are talking about.

Each experiment addresses a specific complaint: Concerns over the cars having insufficient safety systems are met with Collins driving blind near the edge of the bridge using lane-assist to keep himself from going over. Claims that Mazdas are not exciting enough result in the ex-Stig outmaneuvering a drone with a paintball gun. Worries that the company has released a dull product sees a mentally deficient dog with a GoPro strapped to its back taking handsome photos of a Mazda6 — “proving” that the company can make its product look glorious without even trying.

However, the claim that the Mazda’s products are lacking in accessories and technology results in Ben and three drunken adults careening around an obstacle course while on a call with his mother. While a fun watch, that makes a better case for Collins being a good son and a great driver than it does for Mazda’s effective implementation of tech.

Cleverly orchestrated by director Yoram Ever-Hadani, the ads possess lots of goofy fun without inducing eye roll. However, there are a couple of unforgivable moments when someone decided to replace the exhaust note of two of the Mazdas with a bellowing V8. The worst offense occurrs when Collins revvs up a Mazda3 and the car roars as if someone had wedged a Chevy small block under its hood. Most of the spots are also guilty of an almost comical level of tire squeal.

Irksome sound effects and staged experiments aside, Mazda seems to have made its point and addressed consumer complaints in Israel without being overly serious. Still, if the “Prepare to be Amazed” campaign only included the billboard and car catalog shot entirely by a dog, I would have still been elated to share it.

[Images: Mazda]

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29 Comments on “Mazda’s New Ad Campaign Uses Ben Collins and a Dog to Suggest Consumers Are Idiots...”

  • avatar

    This just in, scientists have finally proven consumers are idiots. Film at 11.

  • avatar

    I suspect they hid liver treats in that Mazda’s nooks and crannies.

  • avatar

    That French Bulldog is old and tired and that’s why he’s not gonna play that way.

    This ad is all over the place, and is really stupid.

  • avatar

    Using a dog in Israeli advertising doesn’t make sense. In the more trict interpretations of Judaism, owning pets is frowned upon, or outright considered bad.

    You don’t do well in an ad campaign when you alienate part of your target buyers.

    • 0 avatar

      Those groups also don’t watch (or own) TVs, by and large.

    • 0 avatar

      “In the more trict interpretations of Judaism, owning pets is frowned upon, or outright considered bad.”

      While not quite an urban legend like the hole in the sheet, that’s a bit of an exaggeration and doesn’t really fit modern Israeli society.

      While there are some technical issues of Jewish law relating to having animals in your house, and I’ve heard “You have a dog?” with a raised eyebrow, plenty of orthodox Jews have dogs and cats, including the Schwarcz family that lives across the street from me who have a sheltie and a couple of terriers. Dogs are specifically praised in the Torah for not barking when the Hebrews left Egypt.

      In any case, about 80% of Israeli citizens are Jewish and a minority of Israeli Jews are orthodox, maybe a third at the most. Only a fraction of orthodox Israeli Jews are chareidim, very strictly orthodox, and only some chareidim wouldn’t own pets. The Hebrew University has a four year school of veterinary medicine that incudes small animal practice.

      A non issue.

  • avatar

    Most Israelis buy Kias though.

  • avatar

    How much can you even drive in Israel?

    I mean north/south, yeah… some, but east/west you’ve got less than a Home Depot lot.

  • avatar

    It’s cute.

  • avatar

    “It’s the advertising equivalent of telling off the school bully while putting on a pair of sunglasses and moonwalking home.”

    My Mom told me that you should just be yourself and people will like you for who you really are. Are you saying she was wrong?

  • avatar

    i dont really HAVE an opinion about mazda, and i think a lot of people feel the same way. yes, miata is always the answer, but for the rest of their lineup?

    im boring and go by previous experience, reputation/reliability, then value.

    my previous experience started when i was 18 and bought a honda scooter. i beat the crap out of that 80cc engine, and STILL got 18000 miles out of it. that was 1987. friends around that time bought civics and accords, no problems.

    my first new car? 1998 civic CX. drove it for 8 years and only replaced the upstream O2 sensor. and tires. the firestone FR’s sucked. sold it for $5500 in 2006.

    next (and current) car? 2006 scion xA. hecho en japan JDM quality, bulletproof and boring. 2 more doors, and all the standard stuff i wanted for roughly the same price (out the door) as my 1998 hatch.

    total problems in 10 years? none. no belt to change, and i can (and do) everything else.

    to me, mazda is a non-entity. if my car was totalled, id probably be looking at a gently used honda fit. people tend to stick with what they know.

  • avatar

    Juat dropping into say I despise the sound mixer, why add dog panting noises to a dog thats clearly bored out of its mind?

    Never-mind the V8 engine noise, Mazda fans would be very turned off at the thought of a despicable GM engine under the hood.

  • avatar

    What’s up with the broken link for the video of Ben and three drunken adults?

  • avatar

    Sounds like the Mazda wasn’t the only vehicle in that commercial given audio PEDs – that drone sounded like it was six months into it’s second tour of the Ia Drang Valley with its Lycoming T53-L13, and with a HUD that would make a Strike Eagle flush.

  • avatar

    I bet a Mazda6 with a Chevy V8 would be pretty awesome.

  • avatar

    Is this the same Mazda that told my friend to get lost when his Mazda Protege was a rust bucket when it was only 4 years old and that the front strut mounts rotted so much the car had to be junked?

    Mazda is a junk brand.

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