Taking a cue from its new advertising agency, Mazda North American Operations is scouting local sponsorship opportunities.

The guidance is coming from The Garage-Team Mazda, an agency Mazda hired last year as its advertising agency of record. (IEG SR publisher IEG, LLC and Garage-Team Mazda are both part of WPP Group plc.)

“One of our goals for this year is to complement local broadcast media with more sponsorships and grassroots events,” said Maria Zlidar, sales operations manager in Mazda’s Midwest regional office, one of the automaker’s five regional offices.

Mazda’s regional offices are working with Garage-Team Mazda to identify and evaluate potential sponsorships, she said. The automaker’s regional marketing managers spearhead ties.

“We are looking at state fairs, sports teams and other types of opportunities in Minneapolis, Cleveland and Detroit,” said Zlidar, who is mulling a potential tie with the Minnesota State Fair.

The tie would build on the Midwest office’s two-year-old partnership with the Indiana State Fair. Mazda was drawn to the fair’s broad reach: More than 950,000 consumers attend the 17-day event, with attendees on average staying nearly four hours.

“The sponsorship is a cost-effective sales and marketing venue to reach influencers and expand awareness in Indiana.”

Mazda will activate the Indiana State Fair with an on-site vehicle display accompanied by product specialists. The automaker will title the fair on Saturday, Aug. 20, around which it will display its entire vehicle lineup.

The Midwest office renewed the tie based on feedback from its district manager and dealer reps, said Zlidar, who is partial to one-year deals.

“We were very pleased with the turnout. We had a high level of engagement with consumers, and we had sales consultants on hand to give business cards to consumers that expressed interest.”

James Jordon, Mazda’s manager of alternative marketing, oversees the automaker’s national sponsorships. Those include the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron and Formula Drift.

Mazda’s Regional Marketing Managers
Region Contact Location
Gulf Steve Pridgen Sugarland, Texas
Midwest Kyle Kaczmarek Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
Northeast Tami Eichenauer Bridgewater, N.J.
Southwest Anne Marie Morrell Jacksonville, Fla.
Western Bob Berger Irvine, Calif.