ADWATCH: Mercedes-Benz moves away from status-symbol image - Mercedes-Benz is shedding its 'austere' heritage and is bringing individuality to its brand

The new campaign for DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz brand aims to

show consumers that there is a Mercedes model out there to suit every

type of person in Britain. Created by Partners BDDH, the launch ad

enters Adwatch at number 14 with 46% recall.



The 60-second execution uses the theme of star signs to highlight the

way people can be pigeon-holed and stereotyped. The ad shows a young

woman on a train, a man on a building site, a woman and a group of girls

reading out their horoscopes. With Groove Armada's If Everybody Looked

the Same as the backing track and shows a variety of people driving

around different UK locations in some of the 76 different Mercedes

models available. The strapline is 'For whoever you are'.



Partners BDDH won the account in 1997 and its first campaign featured

Janis Joplin's song, Mercedes Benz. Paul Gardener, account director at

Partners BDDH, says that where the earlier advertising addressed

people's price perceptions, the new campaign seeks to modernise the

brand and emphasise the diversity of its models. 'People have an

outdated view of Mercedes, and think that its cars are just for older

people and fat-cat businessmen,' he says. 'We wanted to reflect the new

brand philosophy of celebrating individuality.'



Gardener says that over the past few years Mercedes has moved away from

engineering-led advertising to a more consumer-driven strategy. It

didn't want the new campaign to be based on technical innovation or

engineering excellence. 'There simply aren't any badly made cars any

more, so being well made doesn't differentiate.'



The ad was shot in the UK and its contemporary feel is intended to

create a realistic reflection of British people and their cars. While

Gardener admits that there is a financial implication with regard to the

target audience, he insists that the Mercedes customer profile is more

diverse now than in the days when the cars were status symbols for

middle-aged businessmen.



'Some people used to be turned off by the austere nature of the brand

and thought it was out of their league. We're trying to make it more

accessible and appealing,' says Gardener. 'There are no consumer

stereotypes in this market any more,' he adds.



The campaign launched on March 15 and will continue to run throughout

the year. A second ad in the burst continues the diversity theme and

shows various people having their hair cut in different, individual

styles. TV activity will be supported by press ads in lifestyle

magazines.



According to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders figures, in

the year to March 31 the number of new car sales for Mercedes-Benz

reached 11,012.



To see the 'Horoscopes' ad visit www.marketing.haynet.com.



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