The production is great.  The choir is rousing.  It’s made it into the media rotation during "Ugly Betty".  So what’s wrong with this spot?

It’s lazy.

Cynical.

Perhaps the brief read something like this: "Create awareness among an African-American audience of Mazda’s Motor Trend award."  So some lazy CD turned to the client and said:

"I know.  Let’s go with the idea of gospel.  It’s celebratory.  And, after, all this award is a big deal.  It should be celebrated."

So we end up with brothas and sistas catching the holy spirit over a car.  A car?  I can’t wait for the version where some Jews launch into "Hava Nagila".

At a time when there’s heated discussions about the need for more diversity as well as ways to bring more  multicultural shops to the strategic table, the need for great ideas can’t be overlooked.  There’s absolutely no big idea here.  Is this the fault of the agency?  Not entirely.  Did they do the best they could with what they were given?  Maybe.

But multicultural shops can’t demand to be treated with respect and parity, and then turn around and do completely unimaginative work.  Clients, on the other hand, have to stop looking at ethnic agencies in such narrow terms, limiting their work to what they think will get past the cultural filters of brown audiences.

Posted by Rob Fields

  • As a proud Mazda owner, I saw this commercial and winced. I’m not going to cry, “racism” or “boycott,” or anything, but I’m am getting tired of Black people in mass media being so one dimensional. Gospel Choir?? That thing has been long played out and a minority ad agency should know that by now.