Mazda is taking to social media to launch the 2011 Mazda 2. A branded game on Facebook, "DriverVille," is a virtual, multiplayer game where players get customizable "Your Inner Driver" avatars and use them to drive virtual cars to win Driver Bucks for virtual products and real weekly sweepstakes prizes.
Within the platform are mini-games such as racing in a digital version of the Mazda Raceway (the real one's in Laguna Seca, Calif.) and things like a quest to get snow tires, a snowboard and accessory roof rack in order to go snowboarding.
The company says it will support the game with ads, and that the game is part of an integrated campaign that includes TV, cinema ads, online lifestyle/engagement sites, print, customer relationship marketing, a music tour and MazdaUSA.com. The campaign is likely the last from longtime Mazda agency Doner, which had the estimated $150 million account since 1997 and developed the "Zoom-Zoom" tag.
"Since young drivers already live on Facebook, the logical place to start was to develop a virtual world called DriverVille," said Justin Smith, executive VP-executive creative director-interactive of Doner, in a release.
"There, they can experience the Mazda 2 through play, express themselves by pitting their unique Inner Drivers against others in all manner of entertaining ways, and then share the stories they've built. Our brand socializing system radiates outward from DriverVille by distributing content through other social networks, live events, music, cinema, and content integration on leading video and passion point-oriented properties in gaming, music and fashion."
Kia Motors America is also taking to social media to promote its Soul vehicle. The company is extending its "This or That" campaign that touts the car via the hamsters it introduced last year. The latest element is an online video contest, "Who's Next?," to find "the next big Internet star."
The contest is aligned with the Black Sheep music video campaign for Soul in which hip-hop hamsters sing, "You can get with this, or you can get with that," comparing the virtues of the Soul vehicle with rolling appliances.
Participants have to create their own videos that use the Kia Soul and tag, "A new way to roll," as thematic centerpieces. The contest runs through the end of September, with the top two finalists traveling, on Kia's dime, to Los Angeles for the announcement of the grand-prize winner, who will receive $10,000.
The company is promoting with ad buys on portals like Yahoo. The interactive ads that launched July 28 have a toaster driven by a hamster rolling out of the ad banner and across the viewer's computer screen, with the Soul rolling back into the ad from off-screen left.
Also featured in the Web ads are judges who became celebrities on platforms like YouTube. The judges, including Smosh, ShayCarl and Lisa Nova, will pick the top eight submissions. Then semifinalists will then go into a three-round voting process chosen by viewers.
Kia will post all of the videos through the Kia Soul YouTube channel and the YouTube comedy celebs Smosh and ShayCarl, as well as Lisa Nova, will promote on their channels. The company says that the three Web celebs have more than 640 million video views combined and 2.62 million subscribers collectively on their online channels.