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Breaking Good: A Closer Look at Those Ubiquitous Mazda Aaron Paul Commercials

Mazda has repeatedly made WardsAuto’s top 5 most digitally-engaging auto ads ranking (powered by iSpot.tv) — so frequently that we just had to take a closer look. What is it about these commercials that time and again have viewers talking? In a word (or rather, two words): Aaron Paul.

The actor of “Breaking Bad” fame – he played the deeply troubled character Jesse Pinkman – has narrated each of Mazda’s most buzzed-about ads in recent months, and the distinctive voiceover work by someone from such an iconic TV show continues to catch people’s attention and inspire both positive and negative commentary.

The brand has obviously taken notice and become highly committed to this campaign, judging by airings numbers and TV ad impressions month after month.

For example, let’s take a look at the most recent chart-topper from Mazda, an ad for the CX-5 titled “The Proposal” which shows a cute (if somewhat cliche) story about a winter wonderland proposal.

According to iSpot.tv, this spot first started airing in January of last year, and is still going strong now (Mazda didn’t air it over the spring and summer months last year, which makes sense given its winter theme). All in all, “The Proposal” has racked up over 3,900 airings and 1.5 billion TV ad impressions.

It has an average view rate of 88.9% compared to the industry’s average of 86.4% (view rate is the percentage of an ad that, on average, was viewed across all airings of that ad). In other words, Mazda has good reason to keep running it – because people keep watching it.

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Here’s another Mazda spot (also a frequent flyer on Wards’ ranking) that I actually saw on live TV this week.

The dulcet tones of Mr. Paul are paired with sensual close-ups and carefree driving-through-beautiful-landscapes shots. Once again simplicity seems to work for Mazda — as long as you have Aaron Paul narrating. This ad has been running nonstop since May 2016 and has garnered over 7,100 airings, 1.9 billion TV ad impressions and has a lifetime average view rate of 96.7%.

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When you step back and think about it for a second, it’s actually pretty amazing how consistently Mazda has been capturing audience attention. The commercials aren’t filled with gimmicks, bells or whistles. They’re just standard, well-executed auto ads that, thanks to good ol’ Jesse, keep viewers watching and talking.