Media: Strategy Analysis - B-Class targets experience-seekers

Brand: Mercedes-Benz B-Class Client: DaimlerChrysler Brief: Launch the new B-Class to its target audience within the context of a limited budget Target audience: "B-Class explorers" (relatively young, affluent, well-educated, design-conscious experience-seekers) Budget: Undisclosed, but relatively limited in the context of a car launch AGENCIES Media: BJK&E Above-the-line creative: Campbell Doyle Dye DM: Claydon Heeley Jones Mason Web design: Syzygy

STRATEGY

Mercedes-Benz continues to be one of the most recognised global icons.

The task of this brief, however, was to connect with the target audience, raising awareness and understanding of the B-Class model launch as the first premium brand to enter the mini-MPV market.

Audience research identified the target audience of "B-Class explorers" were united in their appreciation of technology and innovation, quality design and the pursuit of new experiences.

EXECUTION

- TV: A total of 42 separate but tonally consistent 20-second executions were produced within the budget originally allocated to produce one ad, with BJK&E deploying a separate execution each day of the campaign to reinforce the versatility of the new model. High-quality placement within national press supplements complemented this, delivering more product detail and extolling the model's premium credentials.

- Digital: The TV campaign was extended via the use of digital screens at main rail terminals, upmarket health clubs, airports and Eurotunnel.

A rich-media online campaign, including video footage of the new car, data capture and pay-per-click activity, was also deployed. Furthermore, Mercedes became one of the first advertisers to use an extensive promotion of innovative WAP technology enabling B-Class explorers to download the commercials, locate retailers and request a test drive via their mobile phones.

- Partnership: BJK&E established an integrated media partnership with Channel 4, which tuned into the audience's appreciation of good design.

B-Class explorers were invited to interact with, and vote for, their top-ten architectural sites on a microsite, which showcased 100 examples of the UK's finest structures.

B-Class branding was sympathetically interwoven within the site, while the audience was given the opportunity to win a luxury short break in a B-Class. The results of the microsite ballot formed the basis of the first broadband programme produced by an advertiser in conjunction with Channel 4.

The piece's credibility was enhanced when Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs agreed to feature in the programme. In addition to broadband, the programme was also accessible on 3G phones. The design association was enhanced by B-Class sponsoring the Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize, also shown on Channel 4.

RESULTS

The decision to deploy 42 separate TV executions was successful, with the campaign producing a branding recognition score of 77 per cent. The online campaign produced an interaction rate of 86 per cent, with the mobile WAP application producing hundreds of responses. In addition, the Channel 4 partnership delivered more than 183,000 unique online visitors, with more than 42,000 high-quality entrants to the competition.

Furthermore, there were more than 17,000 viewings of the ten-minute broadband programme and 23,000 viewings of the one-minute versions. Most importantly, this was reinforced by highly positive retailer feedback and healthy interest in the B-Class to date.

THE VERDICT - Ivan Pollard, partner, Naked Communications

I have just entered the market for a car. Unbelievably, at the venerable age of 43, I passed my driving test. I am a crap driver, really crap, and I just got lucky on the test. When panicked, I hit everything, lose control of the car but do manage to turn on the rear windscreen wipers.

Nevertheless, armed with my fresh driving licence, I could buy a nice new car if I wanted. The question is whether this campaign would get the B-Class on to my list.

I get the idea of demonstrating versatility and the link to innovation, design and technology - just what you need from a car and just what you expect from Mercedes. Form and function in Teutonic harmony. Love those Germans.

At the heart of the schedule lies a TV campaign with a staggering 42 executions. A great example of what you can do with a production budget, but is it a great example of using the power of TV?

BJK&E is a smart agency and DaimlerChrysler is a smart client but simply running a different TV execution each day does not seem to be making the most of the riches at their disposal. Surely they could have further segmented the audience on TV and served a different set of executions to different people. I don't want to see the 42nd different use for a car; to paraphrase Renee Zellweger: "You had me at the eighth relevant hello." So let us assume they did more than simply add another each day. Sometimes, having too much at your disposal means you don't think as wisely about how you spend it.

Much more thoughtful is the rest of the campaign: the obligatory supplements; the online microsite; the digital screens; the sponsorship; the innovative use of broadband TV and mobile and the tie-up with Channel 4. All good stuff and all pulling in decent responses.

So, would this campaign force the B-Class on to my consideration list?

I think it just about would - despite Leslie Butterfield's book. I would have been overwhelmed, confused and uncertain but I guess at least one or two of the things they threw at me would have stuck.

So the bottom line is a campaign that is different, that seems to have worked and that has been extended into some smart places. Whether it was the most efficient use of the budget, however, and whether it is strategically coherent and clear would remain a big doubt for me.

SCORE: 3 out of 5.