Louisiana SuperdomeEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz is great a putting its name on highly visible, aspirational products. The international series of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks is maybe the best example of that process in action, but now the automaker has another high-profile feather in its cap: naming rights to the Louisiana Superdome.
The New Orleans Saints and Mercedes-Benz told the press about the deal on Monday afternoon, with the official announcement expected today. Though none of the financial details of the arrangement between Mercedes and the stadium's owner, the state of Louisiana, have yet been made public, the deal is good for ten years. The Superdome's new name officially launches on October 23, in conjunction with the highly anticipated match-up between the Saints and the Indianapolis Colts.
Everyone from the owner of the Saints football team, Tom Benson, to the governor has had numerous sound-bitey things to say about this arrangement, but none has been more curious than the statement issued by Stephen Cannon, vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz U.S.A.: "The Superdome was an icon for how we (as a society) did things wrong but now is an icon for rebirth."
Clearly, Cannon is referring to the debacle at the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina, but the building's architects probably wish he'd phrased that sentence more clearly. Also: if Mercedes and the Superdome are meant to be a perfect match, is Cannon implying that Mercedes slid off the rails, too?
It bears mentioning that Benson also owns a couple of Mercedes dealerships in New Orleans and San Antonio, Texas. Is this a case of mutual back-scratching? Probably. Is it likely to up the automaker's visibility in 2013, during the world cup of advertising, otherwise known as Super Bowl XLVII? Most definitely.