Mazda to Launch New Minivan in Disney Online Deal

Mazda North America plans to promote its new MPV minivan through an online promotion driven by the Walt Disney Company.

The centerpiece of the automaker’s campaign is a new, co-branded site hosted by Disney Online, designed to encourage consumers to test drive the new MPV.

The site, MazdaSweeps.com, offers entries into a sweepstakes, in which entrants can win one of three new MPVs. The site also features automobile-related online and printable games involving Disney characters.

MazdaSweeps.com also offers a downloadable “screenmate” application, which places an mini MPV on users’ PC desktops, from Indimi’s AdTools unit. The MPV drives around the screen, pausing occasionally to honk or race behind an X-Ray, which then shows the innards of a racy Miata. (The tagline for the MPV’s offline advertising is “the minivan with the soul of a sports car.”)

The site will be promoted with ads on Disney.com, FamilyFun.com and Radio Disney; in a custom insert in Disney-owned FamilyFun magazine; and on Disney’s ABC-operated and affiliated TV stations in 14 markets.

The family-oriented programming, combined with the cartoon-ish Web site, aims to hit a target market of mothers with children ages 6 to 11.

“Disney and ABC are very strong brand associations for us,” said Kristen Simmons, vice president of marketing for Mazda North America. “They have demonstrated that they understand our market and our unique ‘soul of a sports car’ positioning — and that they can bring it to life from a national level all the way to the retail store.”

For Disney, the effort speaks to its on- and offline joint advertising capabilities, similar to initiatives at competing media giants Viacom and AOL Time Warner.

“Disney speaks to a family audience through many channels, and this campaign is a great example of how we can creatively involve consumers in a new product launch,” said Ken Goldstein, executive vice president and general manager of Disney Online.

Spending was not disclosed on the campaign, which runs through April and was designed by Doner Advertising.

Disney will receive some promotion for its divisions in conjunction with its participation in the effort, however. Consumers who test drive a new Mazda vehicle receive a $25 Disney Store gift card and an interactive CD that features sneak previews of upcoming Walt Disney Pictures and Disney Home Video films, Disney Interactive Games titles, Disney-owned Hollywood Records’ animated cartoon band ‘Simon & Milo,” and songs from Radio Disney.

Additionally, select Mazda dealerships nationwide will feature live Radio Disney events as an additional draw for families.

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