Mercedes-Benz "Soul" Shines Through
Industry data shows MBUSA CLA ad scores big during Super Bowl XLVII
MONTVALE, NJ--Feb. 7, 2013: The perennial discussion among industry pundits about the Super Bowl, the largest and most watched sporting event of the year, is: are the millions of dollars spent on Game Day airtime worth the investment? Most experts say that it depends on the expectation and the execution.
Ask Steve Cannon, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA what he wanted from the multi-prong marketing campaign the company put together for Super Bowl XLVII and he will say, "The goal was to create a compelling story which would introduce a new product --our 2014 CLA coupe -- at a first-ever price point in a way that would not only get people talking but also begin to get them interested and engaged."
According to Cannon -- and various industry barometers -- the campaign that Mercedes-Benz launched on January 20 th did just that.
Right off the top, Mercedes-Benz benefited from the fact that the game was played at the "Mercedes-Benz Superdome" (the company invested in naming rights in 2011). ImageTrack powered by Kantar Media -- IEG's sponsorship/advertising broadcast monitoring service -- projected that this would result in Mercedes-Benz receiving 6 minutes and 19 seconds of exposure during the game, valued at approximately $4.6 million. If the fourth-quarter for the CLA was then included, the total media exposure value was projected to exceed $12 million.
The campaign itself consisted of five elements. An advertising teaser campaign with four: 15 spots and one :30 went into rotation during the AFC championships on January 20 queuing up the ad with the "Somethingâ€¦is coming," tag. Two days later, the company released an online video (the parody of the stereotypical bikini clad model washing a car had Kate Upton playing to the camera while a bevy of good-looking young guys soaped up her car) which went viral and garnered close to three million views by the next day without the benefit of any paid media (it's now at 7 million). This was followed by a long-form version of the Super Bowl ad "Soul" and then a "Behind the Scenes" online video. Combined, these four creative executions netted nearly 10 million views before the final element, the 60-second version of the ad was released (to date, that tally is well over 13 million).
"But," notes Bernie Glaser, VP of marketing for MBUSA "To really amortize your investment, you've got to go deeper than measuring entertainment popularity. The real magic lies in converting awareness into consumer interest. Engaging people enough to go out of their way to find out more about your product -- that's the real payout."
The ad itself, set in New Orleans where MBUSA has strong philanthropic ties in addition to its presence there, drives home an actual selling point -- the CLA's price. Created by Merkley+Partners (NYC), the storyline involves a devilish Willem Dafoe offering a young man a Mercedes CLA and all that comes with it -- a red carpet moment with Kate Upton, a dance-off with Usher, a drive on the Formula 1 racetrack etc.--in exchange for his soul. But just when the young guy is about to make the deal, he spies a billboard touting the CLA's MSRP of $29,900 and vanquishes Dafoe saying "I think I've got this."
And, as the various industry ad metrics started to roll in, data shows that MBUSA's spot itself "got this" and a whole lot more with audiences.
According to Ace Metrics, an independent analytics company which measures advertising effectiveness, "Soul" scored the highest of any automotive advertisement and tied for the 4th highest score overall for all ads on the Super Bowl.
As far as concrete evidence of effectiveness and engagement, Edmunds.com, one of the leading car information sites where potential buyers go to do their research, reported that the CLA had the highest jump in vehicle consideration both during the Game and in the 24-hour period that followed. Nearly one out of every five consumer searches during the fourth quarter was for the new sporty four-door coupe. In fact, queries for the entire Mercedes-Benz brand on the Edmunds website were up 122% from the average of the four previous Sundays, giving the brand the number one spot for consideration among all luxury makes during the Game.
"The CLA was the number one shopped vehicle on Edmunds.com over the weekend," said Vice Chairman Jeremy Anwyl from Edmunds.com. "It is the best performing ad campaign I have seen since I started tracking Super Bowl ad performance. The CLA obviously connected with a vast audience, demonstrating Mercedes Benz is enjoying early success as it reaches to a new generation of luxury vehicle buyers."
Looking ahead, the ad has its second broadcast appearance during the Academy Awards in late February. Its biggest star, the CLA, makes a brief appearance at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week starting today and will appear at the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship and other high-profile events that MBUSA sponsors. Digital and social media activations will be released over the next few months (the company's Facebook page Facebook.com/Mercedes-Benz USA is currently offering select fans an opportunity to see the CLA in an expense-paid trip to New York in conjunction with the New York Auto Show) as the September launch of the sporty 208--hp four-door coupe draws near.