Mazda Takes Austin As Auto Sponsor

Mazda is all over Austin, Texas, this week. The brand will be official auto sponsor of the 2015 edition of South by Southwest (SXSW), the 10-day music, film, technology, and omni-hip happening starting on March 13 in Texas’ capital city. The Irvine, Calif.-based U.S. division of the company will have cars on the ground and on display, experiential programs, digital and sound integrations, partnerships, and event participation, including at MediaPost’s own SXSW program

Russell Wager, VP of marketing at Mazda North America, tells Marketing Daily that the company will have a fleet of 18 or so 2016 Mazda CX-5 crossovers, Mazda6 sedans, and Mazda3 vehicles in the city. Mazda will also run a place  to rest and recharge, the Mazda Connects lounge at the Austin Convention Center. For its Mazda Sound Stage, the brand has also partnered with U.K.-based tech startup Mogees, an audio company that invented a device that allows any physical surface to function as a digital instrument. Mogees will wire up a KODO-designed Mazda3 so visitors can create custom tracks by caressing, knocking, drumming, and tapping the car's surfaces. 



Mazda is also back in Austin at the "Fader Fort" presented by Converse in 2015, to tout the 2016 Mazda CX-3. People who own a Mazda get access to a VIP Lounge near the front of the stage.

“Last year we dipped our toe in the water with Fader, and we had a great result from that,” says Wager. “Not just from the interactions we had there, but from the content we generated and pushed out to people who couldn't be there.” 

He says the activation strategy is around the idea of “road, world and moment,” defining both on-site and digital extensions. “The world because there are people who can't get there but want to learn about the latest trends.” 

Mazda, which has virtual versions of the 1997 RX-7, 2013 MX-5, 2011 RX-8, 2010 Mazdaspeed 3, and 1994 MX-5 in the Forza Horizon 2 racing game on Xbox, has finished a promotion on the platform touting the 2016 MX-5, coming this year. The Mazda Livery Design Contest lets players of the game submit designs for the exterior of one of the MX-5’s in the game. 

The winner will be chosen in Austin at the SXSW Gaming Expo, where Xbox will have a stable of Forza-loaded driving simulators. Wager says the company got 500 submissions, and over 100,000 engagements around the contest. Among the judges who will pick the winner is Larry Hyrb (aka Major Nelson), director of programing for Microsoft’s Xbox Live.

Wager says Mazda, meanwhile, is adjusting its marketing message this year as it gears up for new launches, including the updated 2016 Mazda6 and forthcoming CX-3 compact crossover. The brand's two-year-old “Game Changers” campaign features people who have done things differently in their fields, meant as a metaphor for Mazda. Wager says the campaign has focused on such technological advances as its SkyActiv powertrain tech. “But now we will start evolving that to bring more emotional reasons in addition to rational. We have made tremendous progress, but we need to go to next level.”

Next story loading loading..