Mazda Warp-Drives Into 'Star Trek'

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It's a little early to predict whether there will be flying Mazdas zooming around circa 2178, or whenever it is that “Star Trek” takes place (we'll leave that to the über fans) -- but in 2013, the automaker is partnering with Paramount for a cross-promotion with the latest film in the extraterrestrial franchise, "Star Trek into Darkness." 

The campaign spotlights the revamped 2014 Mazda6 and Mazda's SkyActiv powertrain technology, and (ideally) drives showroom traffic. Presaging a totally revamped marketing platform, the effort comprises TV, digital, out of home, CRM, social media and retail. 

A co-branded TV spot breaking this week shows footage from the movie leading into a showcase of the car, with the message that both are examples of leading-edge technology. The ad will air on broadcast and cable networks, as well as online properties, per Mazda's Irvine, Calif.-based U.S. arm. Mazda says co-branded content will also be on the digital board in New York’s Times Square as well as an oversized billboard along the 405 freeway in Los Angeles.  

Mazda is also featured in Paramount’s “Star Trek” app that has five "interactive missions," of which there will be one per week leading up to the movie's May 17 premiere. The app launches a weekly scavenger hunt for “Star Trek” and Mazda content with prizes, merchandise, videos and content, and ascension through the Starfleet Academy ranks as incentives.  

Russell Wager, VP marketing for Mazda North American Operations, tells Marketing Daily that driving retail is job number one. "The biggest goal is always going to be to use this to bring people to dealerships, and there are a couple of ways of doing that: getting people there who have a reason to go there [car shopping] and getting people there with programs like the app missions." 

Wager adds that another objective -- one that was also the focus of last year's similar partnership with Universal's "The Lorax," spotlighting the CX-5 crossover -- is to build awareness of the then-new powertrain technology. "It was a great tie-in; we got great results for SkyActiv, including a big lift in brand opinion. But one thing we learned from that is we needed even more retail activation. So we have concentrated on this even more this time by getting involved with the Star Trek app." The automaker says that so far, more than 400,000 users have downloaded the IOS, Android and Amazon app at StarTrekMovie.com.

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