Mazda Targets the Hispanic Market ... in Japanese

Ads Play Up Auto Brand's Heritage to Attract Key Demographic

Published On
Jul 12, 2017

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Mazda is tripling its investment in Hispanic marketing, but the automaker is speaking as much Japanese as Spanish as it kicks off the effort targeting the key demographic.

Digital ads that recently began airing are filled with Japanese language and imagery, including at, where this week an ad briefly converted the navigation section to Japanese. As an accompanying Spanish language message stated, this was not an error. Mazda wants to play up its roots with U.S. Hispanics after its research revealed that consumers knew Mazda was an Asian brand, but didn't identify it as Japanese in particular. And Mazda execs say linking the brand to its home country is a good message to send to Hispanics.

"If we get people to know that Mazda is a Japanese brand that is our first hurdle," said Russell Wager, VP of Mazda's North American operations. "Because the Hispanic community has a great affinity and trust for Japanese brands, equaling craftsmanship and quality."

The so-called "disruption" phase of the campaign includes a video highlighting a baseball player, a sushi chef and a designer backed by a Japanese voiceover that says (in translation), "Who we are is defined by the generations that came before us. We are from Japan. We are from Hiroshima. We put the passion of a city into everything we do."

The word "passion" ("jonetsu") displays in Kanji, parts of which become curious "props" in various scenes.

In the the coming weeks Mazda will transition to more traditional Spanish-language spots. But Kanji characters will still appear and the ads will include nods to Mazda's Japanese heritage, Wager said.

The campaign was created by WPP's dedicated Mazda agency, Garage Team Mazda in partnership with multicultural shop The Bravo Group.

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Jul 12, 2017
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The Garage/Team Mazda
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