Mazda marketing chief jumps ship, Autonews reports.
Although there does not appear to be any connection, the departure of Kristen Simmons comes amid concern within the parent company in Japan that the acclaimed zoom-zoom advertising campaign may be running out of steam.
Simmons was responsible for execution of the zoom-zoom campaign, which agency Doner Automotive said last week still is going strong in America despite a pullback in the Japanese market.
In Japan, the campaign has shown cracks. And some senior Mazda executives there have expressed doubts that the campaign sends the right message for Mazda in the Japanese market.
Masahiro Moro, general manager of Mazda's global marketing division, recently said that Japanese consumers thought the message related only to the Atenza/Mazda6, not the entire brand. "We want to focus more on the nameplate," Moro said. "So we are varying the music, and making zoom-zoom smaller" as a portion of the commercial.
The message also flopped badly in the launch of the Japan-market Demio supermini.
Mazda's research found that fewer than 10 percent of women - the Demio's target market - knew that there was a new Demio. One month into the Demio launch, Mazda switched away from zoom-zoom to a traditional launch campaign commercial.