Ad of the Day: Aaron Paul Guns It in Mazda’s Time-Traveling New Spot

Key moments in a driver's life

Zoom zoom, bitches!

Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul contributes an awesome voiceover to "A Driver's Life," the first spot in Mazda North America's new "Driving Matters" campaign.

Created by WPP's The Garage/Team Mazda and directed by RSA's Jake Scott, the initiative seeks to forge an emotional link between the Japanese nameplate's vehicles and the sheer joy of driving. That's hardly new ground for an automaker. And the minute-long commercial's rhyming narrative—which recalls car-related milestones in one guy's life—is far from cutting-edge. (Too bad they didn't try anagrams.)

Still, it succeeds. Its low-gear sentimentality never gets mawkish, and Paul deserves much of the credit. His nuanced cadences elevate a story that starts at "16, wide eyes, driver's license took two tries" and moves through "First drive, fast livin'—hit the garage door … was forgiven" en route to "Mid-size, family cruising … a sing-along of her choosing."

Paul gives the script an amazingly emotive read, his sometimes ragged inflections rising and falling in perfect harmony with the images on screen. Note the actor's soulful whisper on the romantic lines about "a passenger with green eyes," and his poised elation for a sporty red Miata that "reminds you of when you were you."

Mazda's 15-year-old "Zoom Zoom" slogan—iconic for some, irritating for the rest of us—zips by at the very end.

This initial ad in the new campaign (which follows the 2-year-old "Game Changers") has proven popular, with nearly 1 million YouTube views in five days. "It all comes down to the fact that driving matters to our customers, and it matters to us," says Russell Wager, vp of marketing at Mazda N.A.

In Breaking Bad's epic finale, driving clearly mattered to Paul's Jesse Pinkman, though the violent but lovable crystal meth cooker wasn't flooring a Mazda at the time.

Print work and credits below. Click to enlarge.

Client: Mazda Motor of America
Campaign: "Driving Matters"
Spot: "A Driver's Life"

Agency: The Garage/Team Mazda
Chief Creative Officer: Harvey Marco
Creative Director, Copywriter: Steve Morris
Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Melissa Webber
Copywriter: Erik Moe
Director of Content Production: Tom Anderson
Senior Producer: Chrissy Hamilton
Group Account Director: Stephanie Kendrick
Account Director: Dave Brown
Planning Director: Ben Chung
Business Affairs Director: Bart Kias

Production Company: RSA
Director: Jake Scott
Director of Photography: Chris Soos
Executive Producer: Tracie Norfleet
Producer: David Mitchell

Editing Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Steve Gandolfi
Assistant Editor: Sean Fazende
Executive Producer: Carr Schilling
Head of Production: Amburr Farls
Managing Director: Michelle Eskin

Animation, Visual Effects Production: Jogger
Creative Director: David Parker
Animation, End Tag: Golden
Creative Director: Jake Banks

Colorist: Siggy Ferstl @ Co3
Finish: Jogger
Audio Post: Eleven Sound
Mixer: Scott Burns
Music Company: Human    
Sound Design: Eleven Sound
Sound Designer: Scott Burns