Skip to main content

Mazda MX-5 (Miata) Defy Convention

Defy Convention.. that's how Mazda sums this ad. The ad starts out with a group of cars, all of which are convertibles faster than an MX-5 (Miata), lined up to set up for a drag race. The Mazda, an uninvited guest according to the ad, shows up as they're getting ready to launch and just before they take off, it starts "raining" (later in the ad you learn that a water truck starts dumping water on the track). As soon as it starts raining, they all "race" to put their top up before they take off and the Mazda gets the top up the quickest, takes off and finishes the 1/4 mile first.

I have no problem with a good play on words for ads. I love creative advertising. In this case, "the world's fastest convertible" is the one that takes the least amount of time to put the top up. The problem I have with the ad is the selling message. The Miata has never been about features. It has never been luxury, speed or power. It is isn't even about handling, from a measurable metric perspective. It is about the driving experience and keeping the car simple. That's the purpose of the car and has always been the selling message. Sure, it has attracted some buyers who have no interest in twisty back roads or going to a track but just about every mainstream car attracts some people outside of its target audience. The only reason this car gets praised and is probably still getting sold today is because of enthusiasts. I have seen far more Miatas on the track than on the road.

Was the ad made just to get attention and not to "sell" you on the car? Possibly but clever ads that get attention are not rare. An ad that uses the strengths of the car (or any product) and sends a straight message to the target audience in an interesting or entertaining way, now that's something else.