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Mercedes-Benz Pitch
November 26, 2014

Mercedes-Benz Pitch

Hello reader,

Do you think I got a response?

[hint: I left a bunch of voicemails too]


Hi [VP of MKTG],

I am a Creative Advertising Consultant and am looking for an opportunity to help the Mercedes team create winning ads. Below is some work I have done in thinking about your brand advertising and I would love your feedback on my thoughts. Is it possible to schedule time to chat?

I can help Mercedes come up with fresh, original and compelling ads from scratch or critique existing concepts in order to make them impactful and effective. Examples of both are included. I specialize in ideas and copy, leaving the art to graphic artists and ad agencies

There is a lot of great Mercedes advertising out there that supports your superb and longstanding brand. Unfortunately, there are also many ads that are drab in comparison. The problem with most automotive advertising is that it is focused on cars and not car customers

I am reaching out to other folks at Mercedes as well and look forward in earnest to hearing back from you

Regards, Husain

(647) 405-6105


Here are some taglines along with a conceptual positioning framework for each. The main thrust of these ads is making the idea of owning a Mercedes seem like a viable option to the everyman and everywoman. There are many people who can afford a Mercedes but do not yet picture themselves in one

Something is calling out to you Everyone has an innate calling to progress and succeed and is attracted to excellence and perfection. Mercedes is a symbol of excellence and by spelling it out we are attaching the brand to this desire that is inside each and every one of us. Notice that we do not have to say anything about the brand or car itself. This is just like the famous Lexus tagline, "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection" which is a simply stated universal ideal. Our brand becomes automatically associated with it because we are the ones who are saying it. “There is a feeling deep inside of you that is reaching out to excellence and seeking perfection. There is a voice urging you on to realize your ultimate goals and dreams…”

There is a reason you look up every time you see one There are many reasons that you look up whenever you see a Mercedes, not the least of which is the fact that there are so many new models whizzing about nowadays. Once again, this tagline is touching on something subliminal and almost mystical as if we are saying that owning a Mercedes is your destiny. We are also assuming that the reader does find their attention attracted to Mercedes cars on a regular basis and are primarily addressing those for whom this is true. As for those readers who have not been noticing them, this tagline will push them in the direction of doing so (because apparently everyone else is). “The next time you see one and stop in your tracks for a moment ask yourself what you are thinking. What is it that is attracting you? What are you feeling?”

Perfection is closer than you might think We are not just talking about Mercedes cars here but once again the ideal of perfection that everyone of us is constantly striving to achieve. We are associating the Mercedes brand and cars with this perfection. Owning a Mercedes is a step towards achieving ultimate perfection and symbolizes that you have a perfection-attuned mindset and are on your way to attaining it. As well, this is one of those taglines that says that owning a Mercedes is not as distant an ideal as you may think. The average person should be able to realize with a bit of thought that many of the cars that were considered unattainable luxury brands in the past have now become eminently ownable by middle income earners. This tagline serves to dredge that knowledge up from the subconscious and bring it to the forefront of the reader’s mind. “The ultimate is within reach here and now. Perfection is not a distant goal and excellence is at hand…”

Why are you not driving one? Sometimes the best sales close is simply to ask for one directly. Here we are challenging the consumer to think of all the reasons they do not or cannot own and drive a Mercedes. Notice that we are assuming that most people would drive a Mercedes if given the option. For most people the main barrier to purchase is the perceived price of ownership. There may be others but by voicing this question directly we are saying that these are only in the reader's mind and that there really is no good reason not to own and drive one. We know this and so do you and that is why we can ask you this question head on. What we are hoping to achieve, once again, is for the reader to realize that with lower costs and financing they actually can afford a Mercedes. “The path to achievement is recognizing and then overcoming “why not”s. Why are you not driving a Mercedes?”

Why not settle for the best this time? Most people are price conscious and instinctively hunt for bargains. What this leads to in most cases is cutting corners on a regular basis and settling for "good" as opposed to what they perceive to be the best. Many people do not think they deserve they best and feel that they cannot afford it at the very least. What the copy of this advertisement would do is address this kind of thinking by saying that the best can be affordable and pays off as an investment in the long term. Besides, when are you going to give yourself the best that you know you deserve? There is no reason for you not to have the best if others can. “You want the best so why not go out and get it? What has been out of reach in the past can now be achieved…”

More people like you are driving one than you think We look at people who live in beautiful houses and drive beautiful cars and sometimes think that they are not like us. They are rich, or special or lucky or something. What we don't realize is that they are very much like us and in some cases exactly like us. What with the profusion of Mercedes cars that one sees nowadays you don't have to know someone who drives them to know that there are many "ordinary" people who realized one day that they could afford them and went out and purchased one. “You do not have to be a CEO or celebrity in order to own a Mercedes (although many do). The ultimate in luxury can also beaffordable luxury…"


Here are some criticisms on random Mercedes ads I searched out online. Once again, these ads are for the most part what I term "we"-centric instead of "you"-centric. Instead of beginning and ending with the customer - "you" - in mind in these ads we are focused instead on the company and products. We are talking about how great "we" are and trying to impress the reader with the usual superlatives and cute wordplay

A-Class The problem with this ad is that it speaks in Mercedes language assuming that customers are as imbued with the brand as we are. At Mercedes, the word "class" is part of the culture and has intonations that are strong and ring differently compared to most people outside the company. Simply put, people may just not know or get the point that the car is named "C-Class" when they read the tagline (and they may not read the copy). Instead they may think, here is another pretentious brand declaring how great they are. The slogan "The best or nothing" unfortunately falls into the same category as seeming like highfalutin language with no real substance (besides, are we saying you should not drive any car if it is not a Mercedes?). I love the long-exposure photography and might incorporate the imagery into a tagline like, "The world will wrap around you." How about, "Stop traffic without moving" or, "You are the center of your universe"? As for the slogan: "There is only one #1" or "Reach"

B-Class What a mundane tagline. I would much rather go with something like, “Beauty and brains” or “Big, beautiful and brainy” leaving the explanation for the copy. The copy itself is blandly informative – instead of being persuasive as well - and lacks sparkle and personality. Could we not notch up the “zing” a bit with something like, “The new B-Class makes it harder for you to have an accident. You are alerted if you dangerously approach the vehicle in front of you and Brake Assist is activated to enable you to avoid a collision.” Possible taglines might be, “This car could save your live one day.” “Changing gears automatically is one thing. Preventing accidents is another.”

C-Class There is a rule by the eminent grammatician William Strunk, Jr. which I think should be the cornerstone of writing advertising taglines. That rule is, "omit needless words". This ad uses two whole sentences for something that could just as well have been summarized by the pithy statement, "A lot of everything except emissions." Even looking at the current structure of the tagline we can remove extra words from the first sentence: "Never be content with less." In advertising, less is definitely and definitively more because we have less time in which we want to communicate ideas as impactfully as possible. The tagline also rings as being untrue in a way because there are many other areas where less is better and not just emissions. As such, the tagline becomes a false instruction and dictatorial in a way like a summons to accept something that is not quite right. The ad is about low emissions but why can't that be you-centric instead of being about the car? What we are sort of saying here is, buying this car makes you environmentally friendly. What if we said instead, you are environmentally conscious which is why you should buy this car? What that results in is a tagline along the lines of, "Having class does not mean you have to pollute". Being "we-centric" is not always a terrible thing and this is especially true with a trusted brand like Mercedes. Alternative taglines this ad might be, "Class without the gas" or, "As good for the environment as it looks"

S-Class When I first read this tagline I thought that what was meant was that the customer was buying a Mercedes based on their lifestyle and value system. When I read the copy it became clear that, once again, we are trumpeting how great we are and all of the amazing qualities our brand embodies. Remember the Taoist principle that it is weakness that overemphasizes it’s supposed strength; the stronger you are the less you need to show it (Phrases like "...raise the industry to new heights. In technology, design, performance and luxury..." sound like the monotonous chanting of the adoring faithful). Did the copywriters of this ad ever consider that a customer may find the way they are communicating a little scary? Such unabashed zeal about your brand may turn many people away because it smacks of something akin to religious fanaticism, cultism, nationalism or some other "ism" (all of which are generally bad). Why could we not approach the concept of belief by putting the customer and not the brand on the pedestal? You have great values and that is why you buy a Mercedes. What that would result in is something like, "What you drive is how you live" or "Not a car but a way of life." The beauty of the "you"-centric approach is that you can say exactly the same things but from a customer perspective: "Savor the technology. Admire the design. Revel in the performance. Bask in the luxury"

SLS This is basically a chauvinistic, sexist tagline with misogynistic overtones and there is no way around that fact. Are women not successful as well and do they not buy Mercedes cars? Why would we then risk alienating a sizable proportion of our market with a statement like this? Do we assume that most men think this way and would like this ad? Many single men, perhaps, but what about married men? Most married men are far more partial to the female point of view and might be put off by the cavalier sentiment expressed by this ad. Again, why risk turning away a potentially sizeable group of would-be buyers? Looking at the wording of the ad in its current form, something is not right about “Women talk about men inside sports cars.” It sounds kind of funny to me. Should it not be, “Women talk about men who drive sportscars”? If we take the aim of this ad to be that the SLS is a bonafide sportscar then here are some taglines that might do a better job: “A luxury sportscar. How unique.” “Would you rather a high-performance sportscar or a high-performance sportscar with class?”


Do you think I might have a chance to work with Mercedes?

Any thoughts or feedback from you is greatly appreciated!

Please let me know if I should contact someone else


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