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Old 01-31-2006, 05:28 PM   #1
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Default Mazda pulls Web-search switcheroo with Pontiac

Mazda pulls Web-search switcheroo with Pontiac


DETROIT General Motors' marketing idea looks so hip and so cool: Instead of directing people to their local dealerships for more information at the end of TV commercials, they tell consumers to "Google Pontiac."

Which is great, except Mazda bought the words "Pontiac" and "Pontiac Solstice" as search-engine terms in its advertising efforts around the launch of the redesigned Mazda MX-5 two-seater sports car. So in addition to providing Pontiac ads, a Google search for Pontiac also provides ads that compare MX-5, also known as Miata, with the all-new Solstice.

Mazda says it was hoping to attract the attention of younger buyers who may have been considering Pontiac's brand-new two-seater, a direct rival to MX-5. Both Solstice and the redesigned MX-5 went on sale in August.

"They've been doing that for a while," Pontiac marketing director Mark-Hans Richer says of the Mazda ads. "We find it flattering that they'd like to take the market-share leader for the last 18 years and compare it to a newcomer. We think it's a wonderful comparison."

The ads appear in a column on the right side of the search page, offering links to Pontiac and Mazda sites. One link on the page is called MX5NoComparison.com.

Google allowed Mazda to purchase its competitor's brand name because Mazda's site includes a chart showing statistics about MX-5 vs. Solstice.

"We weren't concerned about what GM was doing. We were concerned with what the consumers were doing," says Don Romano, vice president of marketing for Mazda. "This is one of those great rivalries two sports cars coming out and we thought the best way to get our message out was to offer a comparison."

Mazda has the second-youngest average buyer of all brands, behind only Toyota's youth brand, Scion. Romano says Mazda will continue buying the rights to its competitors' brand names and will increasingly use more alternative modes of advertising. "What we're finding is that this younger demographic is not sitting in front of the television watching commercials," he says.

Despite Mazda's efforts, Solstice outsold MX-5 5,362 to 4,821 from September, when both were widely available, through December, according to Autodata

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Old 01-31-2006, 05:33 PM   #2
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thats cute..

why would Mazda be afraid of lil ol Pontiac?
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:50 PM   #3
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I don't think they're afraid... I think it's a sneaky marketing technique. But I would prefer the Solstice over the MX-5 on styling
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:01 PM   #4
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I just wish the pontiac actually had a trunk for short trips.

I just have to wait for the coupe version.

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Old 01-31-2006, 10:09 PM   #5
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The miata does better what a two seater is suppose to do... handle like a go kart. The miata is for motoring purists, the Solstice is more of a compromise for comfort, to to each his own.
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