Sunday, July 21, 2013

How Do You Go About Writing Something This Bad?

I've always been perplexed by ads like this new global spot for the Mazda 3.

Clearly it's an extremely bad ad, in the sense that it will not perform well by any of the common metrics such as recall, persuasion, or effect on brand perception scores.

But what confuses me is that it is not a bad ad in the sense that it was trying to be good, and failed. It isn't even trying to be good.

Nowadays, thanks to technology, we can make advertising that consumers can interact with. They haven't tried to do that. In the 1960s, Bill Bernbach showed we can make ads that are insightful, engaging, and entertaining. They haven't tried to do that. Pre-Bernbach, there was a belief that a good ad focused on a USP. They haven't tried to do that.

They basically haven't tried to make a good ad at all, they have basically just shot the brochure.


Are they scared of interactivity? Were they worried that if they tried to be insightful, engaging or entertaining, that would be bad?

Was there even an agency, or did Mazda just lend the car to a production company? 

If there was an agency, did Mazda direct them not to include an idea?

Was there a script? If so, I don't even know how you write a script like that.

But just as an exercise, I'll have a go.

I'm guessing it would go something like this:

We open on a Mazda 3, on a rooftop. A man approaches. He walks around the car. Cut to a shot of the interior. Cut back to an exterior shot of the car; the man touches it. Close-up of his eye. Cut back to interior of the car, the man is now inside. He presses the 'Engine start' button. Cut to a driving shot of the car. Cut to another driving shot of the car. Cut to another driving shot of the car. Cut to an interior shot, the man turns a knob. Cut to the instrument panel - he has selected the Facebook option on the onboard computer. He has received a Facebook message from a friend. Cut to the speedometer. Cut to another driving shot of the car. We see under the car's 'skin'. A super appears, 'Skyactiv technology.' Cut to machinery inside the car. Cut to another driving shot of the car. Another super appears, 'The all-new Mazda 3.' Cut to logo.

So... did someone write this? Did an actual copywriter sit down in front of a computer and type those words?

It's like they're playing a completely different game.

If anyone knows how ads like this get made, please enlighten me.


Anonymous said...

I like it.

Anonymous said...

I read your critique and my first thought was 'surely it can't be that bad.'
Then I watched it.
I really hope an agency wasn't involved in this.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this exact thing on way too many automotive 'global launch' reels.

This would have been delivered with longer pieces highlighting sleek exterior design detail, modern interior/luxury detail and of course, driving shots. It's meant to be cut up for industry and dealer network launch events and VNRs. The inclusion of a 30 sec 'TVC version' is an afterthought.

The fundamental problem is that they are not trying to make and ad, they are trying to provide their offices all around the world with launch footage. It gets produced/shot once and distributed. Local marketing personnel either ignore it, or (if they don't have budget - and in Australia, few have budget) simply tell their local agencies to use it as best they can.

When you consider these as the objectives, the result becomes what you see. As you suggest it would be made by a production company (in Asia)with and a bag of modern tricks in 'enthusiastic' hands.

More often than not it's a 3D car, perhaps with some ordinary live action mixed in, every-man in any-city, nothing that requires translation or localising. And don't forget the too-big music to try to fill the void where communication might have occurred.

A great example of trying to be all things to all people, end up being nothing

Unknown said...

ha ha. Too busy laughing to reply.

Anonymous said...

It is the best selling car in Australia!

Anonymous said...

Scamp, I have often wondered the same thing when I see these types of ads. Simply baffling.

Leezy said...

As our friend Anon above attests - this is a typical cut down of some 'master' shoot of car footage that the local client has been told to use by head office. They've then plonked down the digi-beta on the desk of their agency, and because there's no production budget to do something unique, told them to try and wedge an idea into it, if they can.

Go on, have a crack.

A bottle of bubbles for the best script that uses every shot in the current spot, doesn't involve an expensive production/music/effects/talent/edit but now includes an idea.


Anonymous said...

Ads don't need ideas in them. It's been discussed on other blogs.
Tony Cullingham would love this ad.

Anonymous said...


which pile you think this would land in?

Anonymous said...

Seems like for what was spent on shooting and animating this spot that Mazda (if they have an agency) could have created something that would work somewhere rather than something that won't work anywhere.

Social Mosaic Communications said...

My honest response has to be that the client somehow ended up getting away with creative murder. There are second and third tier spots that have more thought than this one, which is sad because really like the brand and the car.

So much for technology.

Anonymous said...

I can see exactly how this would have happened. It probably started out as an idea (although not sure what the idea was) but then various marketing execs and stakeholders at the various agencies and depts at Mazda insisted on adding bits - "we have to show the push button start", "...and include Facebook." "don't forget the Skyactive Technology", "...yeah and we have to say it's all new otherwise people will think we're advertising the old one... which looks the same." As for it being the best selling car, well clearly this ad had nothing to do with it. What a waste of space.

Anonymous said...

clearly this kind f "execution" executes the creative soul..note that most if not all Japanese car brands do the same shit to satisfy their karma...Japs are gooid in the design shop but when it comes to marketing sense they shit like hell!Not just in Australkia but regionally they are afraid to be different and end up the same...notice some dead spin on headlines?...meanningless at times ,typical Japs English...more tongue twisting= more creative!About time they see some car tvcs done in US or Europe...but like i said, they are committe advertising, the Jap in the region or countries here don't want to be seen to be a black sheep doing something the other Japs are following from, Japaness brand car ads always end up like a catalogue!

Blonde Ben said...

Compared to the Jeep TV spots, this is a masterpiece

Anonymous said...

Pretty certain this was done by the Multi-un-Talented [name of individual redacted] at the US AOR GARAGE/Team Mazda. The 6 work is similarly awful: a ripoff of Apple's "Think Different."

No mystery said...

It shows a lot of car. From a lot of angles. It shows a lot of interior features. It shows cutaways, just like the brochure.

The latter is the key. In the absence of anything to differentiate the product, a clear positioning or an idea, just put the brochure on TV. It gives something to everyone on the approval committee.

Pretty much said...

To be honest its bad, but its pretty much the same as most of the spots on air ATM. what makes this was worse than usual is just the sub standard execution. - but the idea is pretty much like every other car ad, features, lame reaction, features, voice over, end.

Jamie Everingham said...

"Clearly it's an extremely bad ad, in the sense that it will not perform well by any of the common metrics such as recall, persuasion, or effect on brand perception scores."

Simon,isn't the weasel in the line above "common metrics"? Recall - when you own market the way the Mazda 3 does, recall isn't as difficult because consumers want and expect to hear from you. Persuasion - clearly this market doesn't need a huge dose of it. Brand Perception - well it does say the brand is keeping up with technology and you couldn't class it as offensive, so it probably won't have a negative impact.

The crime of 'filming the brochure' was born in an era when the television medium was our communications flagstone, because there was no other choice.

In an age when consumers now drive the media, and with the unusually wide target market enjoyed by the Mazda 3, I think there may be some validity in broad-brushing your case on television and then niching relevant insights through more progressive media avenues. Why bother with television at all then? Well probably because as market leader, you're expected to be there. The days for that axiom, though, are numbered.

Scamp said...

Hi Jamie. I agree with you. I don't think the ad is offensive, and it won't have a negative impact. It just won't have much of a positive impact either. So I guess I'm not saying the ad is actively evil, just a missed opportunity.

Simon dearest said...

I really don't think it's at all polite for the Head of Ideas from the Naked to be casting stones at the work of another agency do you? Smacks of arrogance; a cheap shot and not at all cricket.

Talking of which, how good are England!

Scamp said...

You should have seen what this blog was like in the old days! And yes, England doing rather well at the moment. Now if we can just get Kevin Pietersen to find some form...

Borat said...

I like!
Is nice!

Rob Hatfield said...

I want my bubbly.

She bought a jeep? said...

Much better than 'she bought a jeep?' Shite that's on tv at the moment. I'd rather watch this than that car crash any day of the week.

Hollis said...