Julia Stegner and the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGEnlarge Photo
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG will not be a high-volume model. With a fairly limited production run and an expected pricetag north of $250,000, only a few hundred will even be available to buyers in the U.S. However, the car is most definitely a looker -- the dream ride of many gearheads -- and so for prestige value alone, Mercedes is planning to advertise the SLS in the States, beginning this May.
Most companies would expect a huge return in sales for that kind of marketing investment, which is liable to run well into the seven figures. But an advertising campaign for a car that few people can afford is not the sort of thing that's meant to drive sales -- at least not directly. Mercedes-Benz understands the nature of television, and in particular, the nature of the TV ad: they know it's nearly impossible to do much explaining in a commercial, and that advertisers are best served by using their 30 or 60 seconds to make an emotional appeal with stunning images and music. Add all that up, and it sounds like Mercedes may be planning a branding campaign to beef up its image in the U.S.
Exactly what sort of image the new ad will project is up for grabs, but if the SLS-centered piece (at left) produced for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin is any example to go by, it's likely to be fairly edgy. (Then again, given the SLS's styling, we'd never expect anything conventional.) The spot may also feature supermodel Julia Stegner, who's featured in the Fashion Week ad and who's been the official face of Mercedes-Benz's fashion division for over a year. All we know for certain at this point is that the commercial has been the subject of much discussion and dissection by the company's executives, and the creative team has gone back to the drawing board no less than five times.
As if the beauty of the SLS AMG alone weren't enough to get us excited, Viknesh Vijayenthiran just sent over a video clip from the photo shoot for the German ad. Here's hoping the U.S. spots are equally awesome.