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

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.