Mazda2 Gets Social, a Little Soul

Rebel Industries identified Mazda as a challenger brand. “If you walk down the street, you don’t see a ton of Mazdas driving by,” says CEO Josh Levine. “[Drivers are] creative, independent thinkers. An A-list artist wouldn’t resonate.”

Enter one white boy crooner with a fierce falsetto and booming baritone.

“Mayer doesn’t take himself too seriously,” Levine says of the easygoing soul singer from the Motor City. “He’s fun, understated, doesn’t have swagger, and seems like he’s of the people. Mazda would use a lot of the same concepts to describe its brand.” What he didn't know: Hawthorne was also a Mazda client.

“Josh presented various artists to us, and Mayer Hawthorne was the one we wanted to associate with,” Bretschger says, noting that Mazda is testing the waters with this music sponsorship. “After all was said and done, we found out that he already drove a Mazda.”