The fine folks over at MotorAuthority displayed some of the latest Mercedes-Benz ads that display some fresh thinking on the part of the revered Swabian producers of luxury vehicles, and it is a welcome change. I say this because some of the latest M-B ads have been a little underwhelming. And I mean that in the nicest, most respectful way, since my father-in-law is a slave to Mercedes-Benz cars and if he perceives any kind of slight, he’ll forbid me from driving his E-Class wagon and swilling Pilsner beer with him. Can’t risk that.
So compared to the previous campaign that loosely translated to Sense and Sensuality and was created for the brand new CLS, a wickedly lovely car, this new one translates much better into English and hits a North American target audience square between the eyes. It’s very male-oriented with not an image of a woman anywhere, yet not macho. It’s full of cool guys who have self-confidence and a strong an self-image, who also happen to be passionate about their cars, and above all, cool dudes.
Both ads attest to the type of owner Mercedes has, essentially people who are slaves, or addicts to their cars, be they new, like the SLK, or used classics like the 300 sedan from the '60s. The first ad for the SLK is a little jumpy at the start but once the car appears, the music starts, the imagery is relatively fast paced, and the target audience--30 something, successful males with shaved heads and no shoes--is clearly laid out. What makes the ad good is the tag line, “addicted to the road”. think it works for this type of car and I think the ad really reinforces Mercedes’ image.
The second ad, for M-B classic cars, follows the addict theme, but in a very different way. It shows the kind of passion Benz cars inspire, and the lengths these one-of-a-kind owners will go to keep their automotive steeds on the road and looking perfect. I love the music, the attitude and the filming. It showcases the cars, the owners and man-machine love and the individuality that is part of the brand. It also establishes a link to the past of Mercedes great cars without romanticizing it. When I see one of those '60s and 70s era Benz cars rolling on the road, I turn my head every time. I want one of those, although my wife would kill me on site if I ever did.
I think this message of passion and automotive addiction is a good tact for Mercedes Benz to take and shows a certain genuineness that was lacking before. And I hope they will avoid a coming advertising catastrophe, which I’ll bog about soon.