Mazda is to project its brand heritage of “style, spirit and insightfulness” in a multi media initiative which will touch on the Hiroshima-based company’s recovery from the atomic bomb raid in August 1945.

The “subtle but strong campaign” is the brainchild of Mazda’s European chief operating officer Phil Waring and will feature on television, the internet and social media across Europe from April.

He said that the promotional programme marked a shift from “product to brand and from reach to advocacy” in order to make potential future and current car buyers identify with the company and its DNA.

Waring, a former managing director of Mazda’s UK operation, added: “As a relatively small global player trying to compete for share of voice in a conventional form meant your voice can be drowned out. That is further diluted and fragmented when you have a different advertisement for each product line.”

The messages will vary from television advertisements lasting up to one minute to longer online clips and promotional videos in dealerships. They will touch on Mazda resuming car production within weeks of the devastating bombing, its major financial troubles during the 1960s and ongoing technical innovation.

This covers its championing of the rotary engine, resurrecting an affordable small sports car with the MX-5 and becoming the first and only Japanese manufacturer to win Le Mans in 1991.

Waring added: “We have challenged convention with a streak of independence and this initiative illustrates that through talking to company personnel. We don’t linger in the city’s post bombing ruins but talk about spirit, resilience and pragmatism plus an ability to get on with life and challenge convention.” 

The senior European executive said that the brand marketing approach had particular relevance as Mazda promotes its new SkyActiv low emission/improved fuel economy petrol and diesel alternative to hybrid technology and consolidates its independent role after decades of Ford management control.

He argued: “Many people think we have only been around for 20 years and are considered in the same context at Hyundai or Kia, while Mazda has been building cars for 90 years.”