Mercedes’ latest “film” released on social media

Mercedes-Benz’s latest film (released via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) shows the highlights of the GL model during a car chase. Note the funny surprise at the end.

  • What’s Mercedes’ strategy for this video? Will it add value to Mercedes?
  • Is this video effective in what their brand wants it to do?
  • Is this different from other videos from high-end automakers?
  • Could Mercedes use a shortened version of this for TV, or is it only for social media?

“In my opinion . . .”

What do I think of this video and the automaker’s strategy? A couple of things: one is to obviously demonstrate, in an entertaining and engaging manner, the features and benefits found on the new Mercedes-Benz GL—and to do so in under four minutes. Another, is to define the target buying demographic for this new GL, which besides being the affluent and sophisticated female, is the 30-something sophisticated male—and more to the point, a family-man. Obviously Mercedes-Benz wants to make that point clear via the slightly humorous twist at the end. In my opinion, it would have been far more humorous if when the kids appeared from the back seat at the end, their faces and clothes were covered in the ice cream that they had been ready to enjoy moments before the chase started. Obviously that kind of humor would have not met with Mercedes-Benz’s ad strategy and corporate ethos.

How will this add value to Mercedes and is the video is effective in what they brand wants it to do? Value? It’s just a marketing and sales piece. It’s obviously a parody on the typical automotive chase scene, but it’s nothing ground breaking. The writers incorporate a twist at the end where the driver, a quasi-James Bond type, breaks the stereotype and is actually a family man.  No doubt Mercedes-Benz hopes that when viewers forward a web link of this video to their friends, they will encourage their friends to wait for the twist at the end. This classic tactic helps assure that most viewers will watch the entire video.  It will create some buzz I am sure, but personally I don’t see it as a game changer by any stretch. I think it’s cute, but there’s nothing spectacular about it.

Is this different from other videos from other high-end automakers? I’ve seen plenty, and in my opinion, they always have a contrived, self-serving feel to them, as opposed to well done product placement in TV and films, or test reviews or better yet, short films done by automotive journalists such the ones seen on BBC’s Top Gear.

These movie demo vignettes must be entertaining enough to get passed around the Internet, like this one from BMW which is full of CGI effects.

Should Mercedes use a shortened version of this for TV . . . or is this only suited for social media? Sure, they could cut it down to a 30-second TV spot, but it would be incredibly difficult to incorporate all the features and benefits the way the longer version does.

Additionally, if it goes on TV I think they’d run the possibility of receiving complaints from concerned parental groups who feel Mercedes-Benz is inadvertently encouraging child endangerment by showing the driver, a hero type, irresponsibly putting his children in harm’s way by taking them along while chasing a villain. Obviously the film short is satire, and not to be taken seriously, but someone somewhere will protest, and if the voices are loud enough, Mercedes-Benz could have a negative PR problem on its hands, although that could generate yet more video views. As the old saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”



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