Can Mazda's DriverVille Facebook Game Improve Sales of the Mazda2?

Automobile makers are finding it increasingly fruitful to make announcements using Facebook. Through Facebook, companies have segmented their audience by car, and one well known company, Ford, announced the launch of the new Ford Explorer through their Facebook Fanpage and received a great response. Another car maker attempting this is Mazda, with the announcement of Mazda2 for North America utilizing a branded social game on Facebook called DriverVille. Read more after the jump.

Capturing the attention of digital natives is a creative task for many and Mazda North American Operations, in conjunction with a creative agency called Doner are looking to position Mazda2 as a stylish and substantial vehicle with eco-friendly components. Also known as Zoom-Zoom Concentrated, this particular feel focuses on compactness and efficiency which is captured with the virtual world that simultaneously educated and entertains users.

“The MAZDA2 is Zoom-Zoom in its most concentrated form. And DriverVille is where Your Inner Driver can learn about the MAZDA2 and connect with other inner drivers in the social space,” stated Don Romano, president of Mazda Canada and chief marketing officer of MNAO.

The game fully incorporates social features as it allows players to customize an ‘inner driver avatar’ in accordance to the player’s personality. This avatar is the front runner for gameplay that encourages users to play and win Driver Bucks virtual currency that can be used for virtual goods purchasing and entering sweepstakes as well. DriverVille also includes mini-games and quests like the Mazda Raceway Race and Snow Tires Quest where users can go snowboarding after acquiring the essential items.

“At the heart of this campaign is a big idea: to follow ‘Your Inner Driver’ to the all-new MAZDA2. The Inner Driver is part of everyone that loves to drive, and Your Inner Driver wants a car with unique styling and the driving dynamics that only a MAZDA2 can deliver in this segment. The launch of this car is all about creating high-engagement content that allows our target to take ownership of their Inner Driver thru the MAZDA2 and then share those deep experiences with their social networks and their world at-large,” said Rob Strasberg, co-CEO and chief creative officer of Doner.

One word of caution to Mazda and Doner would the use of the word ‘ville’ as part of their game’s title. Although not a threat, this social gaming move could be a potential candidate for Zynga’s legal avalanche that’s looking to protect its brand from name copyers. Regardless, DriverVille’s intentions of letting users experience the Mazda2 with expressive features and competition might turn out to be an inspirational tactic for brands to engage consumers. The content from the game will also be linked to other social networks, live events, music, cinema and other online properties that interest the savvy digital consumer. Check out the game here: and click on the DriverVille tab. (note: the focus is for Canadians).