When Google Street View failed to put Switzerland on the map, due to swiss law applications, Mazda took on the challenge and accomplished Google’s mission.
The campaign idea enables not only to map Switzerland in a rational way but also contrary to Google in an emotional manner. Thereby making „Voilà ma Suisse“ the largest test drive ever. The campaign enabled as many people as possible to experience Mazda and its cars and share their personal stories.
PR was a vital part for demand generation and image building and it supported the media buying side. Via a broad PR campaign, we realized local, regional and national coverage in traditional, hybrid, earned and owned media with a consistent storytelling. Local and regional media were targeted to generate demand for the test drives while the national PR goal was to create a general level of awareness and build the new image. Journalists, bloggers and social media users were able to use “Voilà ma Suisse” as content platform to create their own stories. We used user-generated, pre-produced and specifically designed content for PR purposes, in collaboration with the media department.
Mazda’s goal was to overcome the existing brand hurdles, to communicate Mazda’s brand essence to as many Swiss people as possible and become an emotional and engaging brand to reach a younger target group. The analysis demonstrated that a campaign with intrinsic motivation and a strong focus on user-generated content was the answer. As a result, “Voilà ma Suisse” targeted national, regional and local media with engaging content and storytelling opportunities to reach a broad coverage. The regional aspect of the campaign was emphasized and presented the media outlets with the possibility to highlight their regions with user-generated content.
10 % of the Swiss citizens were involved in the campaign, 25 % of the Swiss have seen the “Voilà ma Suisse” videos on YouTube. 34 000 kilometres out of 71 000 kilometres of Swiss streets were mapped and documented with thousands of pictures and individual stories by “Voilà ma Suisse” test drivers. The average age of test drivers for Mazda cars in Switzerland dropped from 45 to 38 thanks to “Voilà ma Suisse” and more than 3’000 test drives were requested. 82% of the “Voilà ma Suisse” test drivers had not previously driven a Mazda before.
The total PR value for the campaign equals more than 2.5 Million CHF and the accumulated reach for the entire coverage is higher than 20 Million.
We executed the PR strategy as part of the broader communication plan, managed via central project management using Basecamp, weekly steering group meetings and monthly executive communications meetings with all involved parties.
1) National PR started on 03.03.2014 as the first contact point with journalists, introducing the campaign and building awareness for the Roadshow.
2) Second phase was from 14.04.2014 until beginning of May. We ran an intense media outreach, offering journalists to discover the Mazda Streetview car at flexible times.
3) The Roadshow began 08.05.2014 and set the start for the regional and local media outreach. User-generated content promoted the tour and presented VMS as a platform for media outlets and local social influencers to create their specific content, using a PR car.
4) The Post-Roadshow phase started in September; during the Roadshow. The created contents served to hook journalists and speak for themselves.
Mazda Switzerland was confronted with several challenges: Firstly, Mazda is considered a brand with a good price-value-relation, Mazda’s communication is not understood as being emotional and the differentiation towards other cars isn't clear. Secondly, Mazda faces an ongoing challenge to acquire new and younger target groups, the current average age of Swiss Mazda clients being around 51 years. These points set the foundation for the PR campaign and lead the strategy: raising brand awareness, communicating Mazda’s brand essence and targeting younger media outlets. To overcome the common brand hurdles, the PR campaign chose an approach oriented towards storytelling and engagement.
The communication strategy of the campaign was divided in four phases. All phases focused on traditional, hybrid and online, social and owned media:
1) Pre-launch Phase: We generated awareness before the tour started.
2) Launch Phase: During the launch phase, we organized press test drives and ran an intense media outreach.
3) Roadshow Phase: During the roadshow phase, we reached out to regional and local media to promote the tour, generate demand and test drive bookings.
4) Post-Roadshow: We are currently focusing the activities in using the user-generated content and VJ productions to communicate the campaign outcomes, build and support the image transfer.