Ally McBeal Star Jane Krakowski, Mazda Announce New National Awards Honoring America's Most 'Out-Of-The-Box' People and Celebrities

National Yankelovich Survey of 'Twentysomethings' Reveals America's Most Out-Of-The-Box Stars: Jim Carrey and Drew Barrymore (Movies); Courtney Love (Music); Dennis Rodman & Venus Williams (Sports); Jenna Elfman, Michael Richards and Drew Carey (TV); Donatella Versace (Fashion); and Rosie O'Donnell & David Letterman

Effervescent Actress on TV's Ultrahip Show to Host Awards as Part of National Launch of the All-New 1999 Mazda Protege

NEW YORK, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- It takes an out-of-the-box (OOTB) individual to know one. This dare-to-be-different rationale led Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) to announce today the signing of critically- acclaimed actress Jane Krakowski, one of Hollywood's most multi-dimensional talents and co-star of FOX TV's ultrahip megahit ``Ally McBeal,'' as the national spokeswoman for the first-ever Mazda Protege Out-Of-The-Box Awards.

Krakowski, featured weekly as Ally McBeal's effervescent, vivacious secretary Elaine Vassal, joined MNAO President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Beattie and a six-member troupe from the Broadway hit ``Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk'' in performing an ``out-of-the-(15' boom)-box'' reveal of the all-new 1999 Mazda Protege at New York City's Chelsea Piers.

Also announced were the results of a national, Mazda-commissioned Yankelovich survey of twentysomething year-olds, who were asked to name America's most OOTB male and female celebrities in each of six categories. Those named most OOTB by survey respondents include:

*Movies: Jim Carrey (36% of respondents voted him most OOTB), who finished slightly ahead of Robin Williams (30%) in the male movie actor category, and Drew Barrymore (44%), who won in a landslide;
*Music: Courtney Love (22%), who narrowly edged out Alanis Morrisette (20%);
*Sports: Dennis Rodman, who finished as the top overall OOTB vote-getter and singled out by 63% of all respondents as the most OOTB man in sports, & Venus Williams (20%) captured the most votes in the female sports category;
*TV: Jenna Elfman (27%), who was identified as slightly more OOTB than Calista Flockhart (18%) and Lisa Kudrow (14%) in the TV actress category. Michael Richards (29%) tied with Drew Carey (29%) as OOTB TV actors;
*Fashion: Donatella Versace (20%) narrowly edged out Tommy Hilfiger (19%) and Calvin Klein (18%) in the survey's non-gender-specific, fashion category.
*Media: Rosie O'Donnell (32%) and David Letterman (32%) also tied as the most OOTB media personality in the survey's non-gender-specific, media category.
*One doesn't have to be a celebrity to be considered out-of-the-box. In fact, according to the Yankelovich survey, 65 percent of respondents -- Protege's target audience -- consider themselves to be OOTB.

Anyone 18 years of age or older with a valid drivers license can nominate themselves or someone they know who is OOTB for the Mazda Protege Out-Of-The- Box Awards. The awards are a national search to find and honor America's most OOTB individuals -- people from all walks of life who think and act in an OOTB fashion and find creative solutions to life and work challenges. Entries can be submitted by visiting a Mazda dealership, logging onto or sending a 150-word or less entry describing her or his most OOTB accomplishment to: Mazda Protege OOTB Awards, P.O. Box 16699, Irvine, CA 92623. Deadline for entries is November 16.

Five regional Protege OOTB Award winners will be selected from the nominations submitted, and receive expense-paid trips to New York to compete before Krakowski and a celebrity panel of OOTB judges for the title of ``America's Most OOTB Person.'' In addition to the New York trips, four of the five regional finalists will receive a one-year lease on the new '99 Protege ES. The national Award winner will receive an OOTB Dream Package including a new '99 Protege ES and a personal, OOTB lunch with Krakowski.

``I have always tried new and different approaches in my career as well as in life, and when Mazda presented this idea to reward people who express their creativity in a fun, positive way, it was a natural fit for me,'' said Krakowski. ``True out-of-the-box creativity brings a smile to everyone's face, whether in the form of music, fashion, a new invention, a solution to a problem or even a new car like the Protege. I consider it a terrific compliment to be considered 'out-of-the-box' by Mazda.''

``We're thrilled that Jane Krakowski will lead the launch of the all-new '99 Protege and the Out-Of-The-Box Awards,'' said Beattie. ``Jane's energy and enthusiasm jump off the screen, and will really connect with Protege's twenty- something, 'love to drive' customers. She is one of today's most out-of-the box performers on one of the most creative, imaginative TV shows, and is the ideal personality to be the spokesperson for the Protege Awards.''

In addition to her Ally McBeal role, Krakowski drew rave reviews last month for her extended ballet adagio performance on the big screen in ``Dance With Me,'' in which she co-starred with Vanessa Williams and Puerto Rican singing star Chayanne. Earlier in her career, her credits included two Emmy nominations as T.R. Kendall on Search For Tomorrow, and a Tony-nominated performance in the Tommy Tune musical ``Grand Hotel'' which made her the proverbial toast of Broadway. In addition, she has recently been signed to record her first solo album.

Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the research and development, sales and marketing, and customer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has more than 800 dealerships nationwide and is owned by Mazda Motor Corporation, Hiroshima, Japan.

SOURCE: Mazda North American Operations