Mazda ‘Fashion Rocks’ campaign – #FACEPALM or #GENIUS ?

Mazda has announced a partnership with the CBS television special Fashion Rocks. Airing on September 9, the show focuses on the “special relationship” between fashion and music. This is an odd pairing (Mazda and this show), so we’re wondering.. is this a facepalm moment for Mazda or some real marketing genius finally showing through?

Mazda North American Operations The Road To Fashion RocksIn the past, we here at CarNewsCafe have often been hard on Mazda for their marketing campaigns (or lack thereof). The company builds excellent vehicles, has a loyal core following, and has recently been going beyond the A-game with their style and design. Yet they seem to be very hit-and-miss with marketing efforts for their vehicles, seemingly missing more than hitting with a low-digit batting average overall. Although Mazda has become highly proficient at building great vehicles, they’re still not all that great when it comes to marketing them.

So seeing this pairing with Fashion Rocks, especially to promote their most-loved and ancitipated car ever (the new Miata), we have to ask whether it’s a good idea. Here’s how Mazda explains the partnership:

“Like music and fashion, Mazda was born from passion, a deep passion for and commitment to innovation that guides everything that we do today and into the future,” said Russell Wager, MNAO vice president of marketing. “Our partnership with Fashion Rocks gives us the opportunity to share our brand with consumers and let them experience our vehicles in an unexpected, yet authentic, way.”

OK, we can buy that. Everything for this campaign is about promoting Mazda and the TV show concurrently. It ramped up online on Friday at with video content and music from the show’s stars backdropped by Mazda vehicles. Meanwhile, television ads are also airing for the show along with print advertisements including a “print advertorial” in a collector’s edition InStyle magazine for the Fashion Rocks show.

Mazda North American Operations The Road To Fashion RocksFor Mazda, this all will (hopefully) culminate into a frenzy of interest in the television show and the unveiling of the much-anticipated 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata at a private concert by a Fashion Rocks artist on September 3. A spectacular way to skip the usual auto show blur of new model introductions, we’ll admit. The new MX-5 will then be seen on the September 9 airing of the show as well.

So what do you think? Is this going to be a hit or a miss?

My personal feeling is that this is a bunt. It won’t knock the ball out of the park and it won’t fail, but it’s a risky move and will probably end up being a two-base run at best. By Mazda marketing standards, of course, that’s beating the batting average.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at