Sneak Peek for Protege

Doner Gives Sedan ‘Hip and Funky’ Appeal
DETROIT–W.B. Doner & Co. is positioning Mazda’s 1999 Protege as a “hip and funky” accessory for a younger audience in the first effort in a new campaign that breaks Oct. 15.
Mazda North America spent $28 million on ads for Protege in 1997; $9 million through June, per Competitive Media Reporting. Spending on the new model is expected to rise significantly, sources said.
Ford Motor Media in Detroit, a subsidiary of J. Walter Thompson, handles media buying.
The campaign from the Southfield, Mich.-based agency targets a younger audience for Mazda’s volume sedan. Dealers who recently saw the new work seemed receptive, sources said.
Neither Doner nor Mazda executives would comment on the new campaign.
The first commercial is designed to look as if it is playing on a computer screen rather than a television, sources said. The jagged-motion spot is similar in appearance to streaming video on the Internet. It shows a woman in her 20s driving through a city to pick up three friends in her new Protege. The tagline for the spot, “The all-new Mazda Protege. A change from all your high-maintenance relationships” is followed by Mazda’s overall tag: “Get in. Be moved.”
A second spot, titled “Science Center,” will follow in November.
Director on both Protege spots was Michael Karbelnikoff of HKM, Los Angeles. Post-production work was done at Buf in Paris. Print ads are still in development, sources said.
Besides TV and print, the campaign includes a new Protege Internet site which will host Mazda’s “Out-of-the-Box” awards promotion. The automaker has signed actress Jane Krakowski of the hit TV show Ally McBeal to appear online and in point-of-sale materials as the spokeswoman for that effort.
–with Michael McCarthy