Home > Featured Story
Related topics: Featured Story,East Midlands, Events, United Kingdom
July 24, 2007

BRAND BOOSTING 2: How experiential marketing can shift brand perception

In recent years, Mazda has had a struggle getting on to consumers' car wish lists, but through research, the car manufacturer found that if people actually got behind the wheel of a Mazda, there was a strong likelihood they will buy. If ever there was an argument for experiential activity.

However, Mazda persevered with above-the-line advertising developing the proposition ‘Zoom Zoom’, representing the thrill of movement you first experience as a child. Unfortunately, in this format the message held little meaning for consumers.

Convinced the proposition would be a winner in the right context, Mazda went in search of a platform that would create maximum brand engagement and quality leads, plus effectively communicate the meaning of the Zoom Zoom message. Enter the Mazda Renesis campaign.

Organised by experiential agency Closer, the aim was to increase awareness and understanding of the Mazda brand, convert new drivers in the market for a new car, recruit 20,000 consumers to provide 3,000 event attendees and sell 500 cars by the end of April this year. Clear, highly measurable objectives like these might well scare traditional advertising agencies to death, but this is an increasingly prevalent phenomenon among the up-and-coming experiential marketing brigade championed by the MCCA and its managing director Scott Knox.

In fact, Knox recently applauded live brand experience agencies’ “maturity of outlook” and their “desire to present the effectiveness of the sector through viable metrics which have taken other disciplines many years to grapple with”, in his regular EVENTS:review column.

Creating a total experience
Closer’s strategy was a clever mixture of direct marketing and experiential activity designed to move away from the traditional driver track days approach and create a total experience that starts from the first media interaction, through to the event.



Hot stuff: Mazda's Renesis Special Ops Driver experience

“Taking cues from BBC TV series Spooks and movie blockbuster The Bourne Supremacy, we developed a driver experience reflective of the Mazda brand,” explains Closer director Belinda Chambers. “This was then used as part of an overall integrated plan to drive interest in the event.”

Key to any such campaign is making initial contact with the consumer. Get it wrong and the whole campaign could be jeopardised. With this in mind, Closer created the mythical Renesis Special Ops Driver Training school, set up to train secret agents in the art of driving. to generate initial interest, thereby avoiding putting off consumers by revealing the Mazda brand too early.

Team Renesis, made up of ex-special service drivers, hosted a series of driver days, where trainees would be given a unique insight into the world of security driving. Those successful enough to attend the day – Renesis Trainees –  got the chance to learn first hand some of the skills required to be a special ops driver.  Then eight of the most talented trainees at the events earned a place to go on a real training mission in Moscow.

“Three regional events were held at Moreton in the Marsh, Bruntingthorpe and Edinburgh,” explains Chambers. “We adopted a push/pull strategy driving consumers to a website to sign up.”

Driving interest in the event

Direct mail was sent to prospects and existing customers, suggesting that they were too scared to participate. Banner adverts were created demonstrating unbelievable driving skills, which were placed on key sites. Third-party emails challenged readers to see if they could handle special ops driver training. Leafleting at the London Motorshow involved distributing sickbags and asking consumers if they could handle the special agent driving experience. Finally, a bespoke website – www.renesis.co.uk – was set up to capture registrations for event, tease consumers about its content and challenge them to apply for the event through an online questionnaire.

“Applicants were then scored using demographic and attitudinal data to ensure only hot prospects were invited,” says Chambers. “Ongoing emails kept applicants up to date with the event, as well as keeping potential attendees 'warm' to maximise attendance and provide additional excitement for the event.

Each event was created to have the look and feel of a live training mission. Spectacular visual effects and innovative technology, including fog screens and holograms, were used to enhanced the brand experience.

At the end of each day, the eight most talented trainees, based on driving skills and observational tests, earned a real-life training mission in Moscow. “This culminated in an amplification campaign, post event with BBC Top Gear Magazine, creating an extension to the campaign,” says Chambers. “This consisted of a teaser article driving readers to the website, challenging them to perform special-agent related tasks to win one of two extra places to Moscow. What’s more, a 12-page journalist exposé of his experience at the training day and an article following the trainees on their mission to Moscow.”

So what was achieved on Mazda’s original £1 million budget? Well, website registration – or recruits – were 5% over target, resulting in 16.6% more event attendees than was expected. What’s more, over 500 cars had been sold by the end of December 2006, four months ahead of schedule, proving experiential activity can not only lead key brand campaigns, but that it is also highly effective and measurable.

What do you think of this $type?





   IT&CM China  Caribbean Meeting Incentive Travel Exchange      Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition EIBTM IBTM IMEX America  IT&CMA IT&CM China IT&CM India Conventa BTC convene  cventMBTMMA 2013 COCAL 

GLOBAL AGENCY PARTNERS                                                                                           OFFICIAL TRADE SHOW PARTNER FOR THE UK MEETINGS MARKET 

MCI Ovation Euromic