Mazda’s AR game makes mission possible

Mazda is challenging Quebecers to conquer real-life adventures and problem-solving challenges in order to win a new Mazda 3, with clues doled out through TV, OOH, radio and social media.

Mazda Canada is involving its loyal Quebec customers in an intricate storyline of time travel, secret police, underground rebellions and an evil empire hell-bent on enslaving mankind to a lifetime of conformity. In the Alternate Reality Game (ARG), which debuted this week in Quebec to support the launch of the 2010 Mazda 3, clues and challenges are handed out though mass media, outdoor events and stunts and an online microsite.

Developed by Toronto-based Doner Canada, who also handled the media buy, players participating in the game have to hunt for 33 keys hidden across Quebec, one of which will unlock the vehicle. Challenges are communicated via the various platforms owned by Doner’s media partner Astral Media Mix, like specialty TV channels and popular radio stations and outdoor billboards. Every night this week, Doner arranged a TV takeover media placement called the ‘zapper trapper,’ which means their commercial will air simultaneously across Astral’s eight television networks in Quebec.

Players can also use an online resource, Quebec-based media personalities such as Marie-Claude Perron of Musique Plus and Dominic Arpin have also been enlisted to actively participate in the storyline. ‘The core target [19- to 34-year-olds] is perfectly in line with this type of execution,’ Patricia McGregor, VP media director at Doner Advertising, tells MiC. ‘They’re really tech-savvy, they’re socially engaged and they tend to be early adopters to new things.’

Mazda has a strong brand presence in Quebec, which accounted for 43% of Mazda sales in Canada last year. The province is also the target market for the ARG launch because of its rich media environment, which makes it the ideal setting for an integrated campaign, according to Mazda.

‘We needed access to celebrities, and because they have their own star system and they do most of their own production [in Quebec], it allowed us in real time to be able to speak with consumers and evolve the story,’ says McGregor.