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Friday, May 11, 2001 Rating:*FritoFrito
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Mazda Miata


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Mazda: Operation Desert Snore  ( view commercial )

What happens when a car company that puts a little sportscar in everything it builds, builds a sportscar? How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? What the hell is that kid doing out in the middle of the desert wearing a wool suit? These questions and more are answered in the new ad for Mazda's Miata Roadster.

I do get what Mazda's trying to do with the whole dreamlike desert, synchronized driving, prep-school-kid-as-observer bit; it's the fact that they don't succeed that bugs me. Mazda wants to appeal to middle-aged, middle-class white males by speaking to the childlike sense of adventure buried deep within their jaded hearts - a tried and true approach to selling sports cars. Or at least it should be. Here's where Mazda pooched what could've been an easy pitch:

1) Odd juxtapositions, like a Roadster in the desert, are great in paintings. They suck in car commercials. I find myself thinking "huge repair bills" instead of "Miata equals freedom" when I watch this spot.

2) I'm supposed to see my reflection in that kid whispering the invitation, "zoom, zoom," right? I do, but it's not exactly a good thing. "I'm really hot in this wool suit," I think to myself, "I'm hot and thirsty and one of those cars is definitely going to run me over."

3) Juxtapositions again: Island style music in a desert setting certainly is stimulating... in a grating, chewing-on-tinfoil sort of way. When you have thirty seconds to sell me a car, it's a good idea for the scenery and music to blend.

4) All the little dancing Miatas are far away and obscured by billowing clouds of desert dust. Instead of feeling like I could climb in and drive away, I feel grimy and abandoned.

Hot. Irritable. Lost. Those are the first three words that come to mind now when I think of Mazda. I'm not quite ready to buy a sportscar and leave the world behind, but when I am, it probably won't be a Miata Roadster.


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