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Driving VR Brand Experience

How Mazda proved that niche targeting doesn’t work



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September 22, 2020 | 4 min read

The pandemic has emphasised both the importance of the family unit and the tensions that exist within it

We’ve seen different generations congregate in one household, where previously they’d have left home – recent graduates, older relatives, single parents, significant others. Out of the chaos and conflict over decision-making has emerged new gatekeepers of the household budget, with individuals negotiating and advocating for their share.

What has this meant for brands?

Targeting a niche won’t work, they’ve had to provide choice and recognise that there’s no single version of ‘family’ to aim for. And that holds true for automotive marketing, where stereotypes around targeting specific audiences are plentiful.

Post-Covid, many families face uncertain futures. There are worries about health, child poverty, and gaps in education. But families also want to be entertained, to experience new things, to be excited. It’s here that integrated live marketing can play an important role in achieving results for automotive brands and help them smash the conventions of marketing to families.

The received wisdom is that safety is a key factor in the decision-making process when buying a family car. However, research shows this isn’t the case. Although the majority of drivers value safety in a car, it’s the top priority for just 4%. Price, value for money, and the strength of the brand are far more important factors.

Live marketing delivers powerful experiences

Clever automotive brands are using live marketing to convey these brand values by providing the kind of experiences that family audiences crave. Take Volvo for instance. It’s synonymous with safety messages expressed through how much it cares for a driver and their family. But Volvo has layered this with experience-led activity, including at The Big Feastival, that emphasises its link with concepts including power and energy while providing fun activities for family groups.

The real potential for automotive brands, lies in delivering hybrid live marketing that provides both physical and digital experiences. Yes, ‘hybrid’ is definitely the buzzword of 2020, but don’t let that put you off.

Our #DriveTogether work for Mazda is a good case in point. The challenge was to build upon our expertise gained through retail and use of tech to create a series of experiences that told the key Mazda stories: Japanese mastery; artful design; innovation; and effortless joyful driving.

Lively created a 4D/VR driving experience that placed the consumer in the driver’s seat, with interactive touch screens to combine brand storytelling with a gamified user experience – taking them on an exhilarating 4D drive from Iceland to The Alps. Perfect for family interaction, it incorporated surround sound sponsored by Bose, together with heat and wind emulators with real world vibration to transport the driver into the cockpit. The experience was the first of its kind, mixing real life footage with a virtual cockpit to embrace the emotion of a truly Alpine driving experience. Beyond this, a mixed-media gallery of designs and immersive projections brought the Mazda brand to life across different touchpoints.

The Mazda campaign shows the true power of hybrid live marketing to make connections, especially important with automotive consumers and a family audience. We’ve seen other automotive brands start to adopt these key principles: focus on creating great experiences that grow an emotional connection, which better represent people’s lives, build trust, and offer a creative and unique insight.

Above all, it’s worth remembering that successful live marketing and experiences lead to deeper relationships between brands and customers, creating bonds that are measured by loyalty– and providing the special energy that comes from being part of something bigger than yourself because, when connecting with families, it’s all about building our community.

To watch the making of Mazda's #Drivetogether click here.

Driving VR Brand Experience


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