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Monday, August 4, 2014

Good or Bad Form: Leveraging a Strong Prototypical Character

Mercedes Benz introduced it's B Class, and all I could think about what how the introduction might rank as a "C" in terms of marketing choice.
The TV ad they used to promote the B Class tapped the prototypical mad scientist. I assume they somehow connected mad scientist with innovation for their electric car, but the visual and history of that electrification of corpses is too strong. If that already sounds whacked, it is, but it's worse on many levels.

In the Frankenstein genre, and every movie that taps into that "feel", the viewer is faced with a lonely and isolated location where there are few humans, whack science, and even macabre activities. The original storyline of Frankenstein is based on a mad scientist who robs graveyards for body parts to create a humanoid abomination. The stitched together body parts are then reanimated after focusing lightening on the corpse.

Does that sound like a way to introduce your latest car? Am I supposed to believe that the B Class is a combination of left over or junkyard parts? Is the B Class dead-on-arrival, requiring a jumpstart to use it? Is the B Class put together by a single crazy scientist or team of crazy scientists with questionable motives? I want to see the genius in this, but I'm stunned.  I can't help but think, will there be a bride of B Class that is also reanimated from car carcasses?

I may sound harsh, but this is less of a slam and more of a question about why Mercedes is shocking me so much. I expect Mercedes to innovate and create great cars. I don't expect to have Mercedes associated with left over body parts stitched together and reanimated by a stroke of luck. Refuse to believe that the Mercedes I've come to know for so many years is trying to push that message. I just hope that someone can see how this commercial is harming the brand.

Please oh please Mercedes, make some sense of this for me.

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