Put Her in Reverse


The usual goal for a marketing video is that it hits YouTube and inspires an avalanche of views, responses and mash-ups from viewers. For their microsite The Drive, Mazda and its interactive agency, Sarkissian Mason, worked in reverse, taking inspiration from content that YouTube members had already created.

"There were some really cool versions of people driving their RX-8 or their Miata and really enjoying the drive," says Patrick Sarkissian, ceo of Sarkissian Mason. So the marketers thought, what if we do our own version?

The YouTube videos, created by Mazda enthusiasts, showcased their favorite cars' handling, sometimes by attaching cameras to the vehicles themselves. Mazda's own videos, on a microsite reached most easily through its home page,, pick up the same thread.

Users pick the RX-8 or the Miata MX-5 and choose from four California roadways known for their
gorgeous scenery. Pick your music, your camera angle - one that's closer to the road, for example - and you're off for a
minute-long joyride.

About 28 percent of its visitors have shopped on Mazdausa, Sarkissian says. (He says the site's traffic also tends to surge during the lunch hour.)

Unlike a standard car commercial, the cars themselves don't feature prominently in the videos: Instead, users have a view of the road as the video speeds along.

"I had looked at the Miata and said, 'It's a small car; not that interesting.' Then I drove it, and I was going around a corner at like 80 mph, and it really stuck kind of flat into the corner," Sarkissian says. "When you drive them, you get it."

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