Will FCB’s Mazda Truck Ads Be Rough and Tough Enough?

SANTA ANA, CALIF. – Foote, Cone & Belding here has powered up the first commercials in an estimated $30-35-million ad campaign to relaunch Mazda Motor of America’s line of trucks.
In two spots due to break next month, the agency uses actual truck owners to position the vehicles as tough trucks for the working man. ‘I need a truck that’s rough like I am,’ says one of the men who’s featured along with scenes showing ranchers, welders and other macho types at work.
‘It was very important to communicate to people that we’re not launching a nice, new import truck that’s as refined as a car,’ said Larry Kopald, FCB executive vp/executive creative director. ‘The intent of the commercials is to say, ‘You can now buy a Japanese truck that satisfies a lot of the same needs domestic trucks only satisfied traditionally.’ ‘
Mazda, which has not revamped its pickups for some 10 years, sold just under 50,000 pickups in 1992, more than 20% less than the prior year, according to The Power Report. The strategy is meant to differentiate the marque from its import competitors, which have focused on styling to make inroads into the compact truck category. But in doing so, Mazda’s ‘bigger, meaner’ truck as the ads describe it, goes head to head with the domestics, which own the category. ‘It doesn’t matter whether they’re compact or full size,’ said Tom Dukes, an analyst with J.D. Power and Associates, Agoura Hills, Calif. ‘This is certainly Detroit’s territory and it’s a tough one to crack.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)