Am I the only one perturbed that at least one automaker is taking a page from the craft beer marketing playbook by brewing up commercials aimed at the very demographic that supports indie breweries? While watching this Mazda ad, I grimaced at the line at the 00:24 mark referring to their engineers as “insightful craftsmen obsessing over the details with a crazed passion.” That’s how we’d describe small batch brewmasters or any other artisans. To apply that to employees of a global company that posted net gains of almost $745,000,000 last year (converted into Yen since they’re based in Japan) really revs my engine.
Additional copy in the ad asks consumers to reflect on the size and uniqueness of their preferred car manufacturer. The questions, “Are they just another behemoth carmaker following the rules? Or…do they push the boundaries of tradition and habit?” are posed against scenes of megalopolis-sized parking lots showing cookie-cutter rides hot off the assembly line not unlike bottles with red, white, and blue labels or silver cans you’d see flooding off conveyor belts at a macro brewery.
How baffling it is to see a corporate car manufacturer playing the David and Goliath game when they have 20 factories worldwide. It’s great that they employ more than around 800 people for their North American operations from Irvine to Detroit, but that’s hardly akin to numbers posted by truly independent businesses. Does Mazda really wanna play the micromanufacturer game? Would they support an additional 1700 automakers sprouting up around the country? Would they build a collaborative car with the folks at, hypothetically, Jolly Stone River Automotive?
In another Mazda spot from the same campaign, they introduce a great Japanese word, “Takumi,” meaning craftsman or artisan. It’s hardly the stuff of I Am a Craft Brewer, but then again, it’s not like you see any craft breweries spending millions of dollars for TV commercials peddling the mantra “zoom zoom.”