Sexy & Smart, But Does This Mercedes Ad Sell?

Wieneke’s first rule of sales: “in order to sell the shoe, show the shoe”. Nowhere is this more true than in car sales.

But in this ad, Mercedes substitutes some “product lust” for, well…lust. And my question is – if this ad were in heavy rotation would have on demand.

Same, neutral or negative?

9 Responses to "Sexy & Smart, But Does This Mercedes Ad Sell?"

  • Trish Y

    May 9, 2012

    My first question is, when is the ad from? The car model looks much older than the models that are in market now. In any case, this ad makes me question whether or not Mercedes believes enough in it’s own product because if it did, then the ad would be about the product itself and not an image or “ideal’ of what lifestyle Mercedes perceives consumers want to have through owning the product. It is also severely targeted towards men and perhaps Mercedes believes that men are more apt to respond to an ad like this versus and ad about the car itself. At the time this ad was done, sales among men must have been low and they thought this was the best way to get them back. I disagree, strongly. I think men especially gravitate towards machines that show their power and skill versus this story that does not mention the car.

    I think Mercedes is better off sticking with what works, they have a luxury car that speaks for itself, showcase that!

  • Karolina

    May 9, 2012

    I believe this ad is from 1998, but I might be wrong.

    I do agree with Trish that Mercedes is all about luxury and the brand speaks for itself.
    Do they need to advertise the brand using the “sex” and “cheating” as a messages to sell the car? Sure it was creative, vulgar in some point… But if we look to the past there were no commercials like this (for sure not in Poland).
    Infidelity is and will be a taboo in all cultures, why the Mercedes based their commercial on it? I guess to make people talk about this topic and talk about their brand in different ways.

  • Karolina

    May 9, 2012

    I just wanted to add few more things here. After I watched the commercial again I came up with more thoughts. The Mercedes commercial shows us that we all can cheat on our partners, its all good… why not? The commercial itself pictures the behaviors that the society have adapted as taboo as something normal. It also shows that the male is capable to drive in a blizzard BECAUSE he owns “the” car – Mercedes, that he can relay on. At least there is one thing you can relay on!
    People still look at the advertisements as something beyond and Utopian, everyone wants to be perfect, like people in these ads and if the purchase of Mercedes will help you to become one of them you will buy it. The sex motif in this ad will help you to make a decision faster.

  • Dave Wieneke

    May 9, 2012

    Karolina’s right – the ad was made by Springer & Jacoby in Hamburg – around that time.

    I’m not sure who aspires to own the “preferred car of the unfaithful”. Popularizing the ad would insure that no married man every bought one of these, not if their spouse had anything to say about it!

    The ad makes a huge enemy — while giving male buyers no reason to prefer the car — just a provocative story and a joke that must have played well at a pitch meeting.

    Sounds like a candidate for our Bad Advertising Hall of Fame. ;>

  • Sheng Bao

    May 9, 2012

    This AD reminds me there is another motor company’s AD which I watched before, there is the link:
    In this commercial, Harley Davidson is using almost the same mean to advertise its brand using “sex and cheating” but it is more funny.

    Yes I somehow agree with Karolina, but I think the point these ADs are focusing on making deep impression to the audience but not “trying to mention a taboo”. Also I believe those real consumers(customers) might think those motors are cool stuffs. This point makes a lot male buyers to change their mind and buy these product.

  • Dave Wieneke

    May 9, 2012

    Way to go, Sheng… as dislikable as this ad is, you make a great point that it gets noticies, and that in small portions it could be effective.

    Your share reminded me of this post — about a Facebook campaign that uses being “a playboy” with great effectiveness. It also introduces the most powerful words in marketing.


  • Karolina

    May 9, 2012

    Another similar ad, this time by BMW:
    – the message is not that direct as it was with the Mercedes and Harley Davidson ads.

  • Rodica

    May 9, 2012

    No doubt that the ad maker attempted a witty turn of events. The man driving the car ends up outwitting his wife and the viewer has in the end a feeling of justice, if not victory. The problem here is that they might have jumped over their targeted segment. People who would buy a Mercedes would probably feel slightly offended to be persuaded by a sex ad. They would normally like to be considered more intelligent than making a car purchase based on their primal instincts.

    Another thing to consider though that this ad was made for the American market, which compared to the European one, can be more appreciative of the surprise or shock that comes with an ad, but I’m not sure it earned them points among Mercedes users.

    After all, I don’t think Mercedes would like to be associated with a red convertible so often depicted in the movies as the car owned by men suffering from their mid-life crisis (first comes the car, then the mistress:).

  • Todd Bartlett

    May 10, 2012

    Hey Dave,

    Like you say in your headline the video is “sexy and smart” but I also find it to be distasteful. Reebok has a similar campaign with the tagline “Cheat on Your Wife But Not Your Workout” which obviously promotes infidelity and they are taking a lot of heat for it right now.

    I’m not sure that this ad sells more cars, but maybe that is not their communication objective. Their objective may be to build awareness and this campaign certainly has the potential to do that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.