Mark Mulhern: Why Mercedes Beat Out Other Automakers At This Year’s Game [Super Bowl 2013]

Mark Mulhern: Why Mercedes Beat Out Other Automakers At This Year’s Game [Super Bowl 2013]

Senior Vice President of BBDO New York praises the car company for a celebrity filled but still surprising ad.

Mark Mulhern, BBDO
  • 10 february 2013

The last time I saw the Devil in a German car ad it was as part of the epic BMW Films “The Hire” series. Featuring a pre-famous Clive Owen, a still-alive James Brown and a diabolic Gary Oldman, the brand spots were all shot by Tony Scott.

It’s hard to believe that series broke over ten years ago. For all the impact it had on digital advertising, content and brand building, it’s also hard to believe that ten years later Super Bowl ads are still the biggest show in AdLand. By a mile.

Of course, digital has changed the #Superbowl ad game but Mercedes look like they’ve got a good playbook. A “controversial” Kate Upton spot to stoke the social scene in the week before the game and a hard working, shiny, celebrity spot for in-game.

Having been the butt of Audi’s joke for the last few years, Mercedes needed to get their act together and stand for something other than Old Luxury. Seems smart to do that via new news- the CLA- which looks angularly attractive throughout.


The ad construct works well in driving home the “surprisingly good value” message and the low price reveal at the end, which drew a surprised but positive reaction from the party I was at. It’s nice that there’s an idea at the end rather than just having another lifestyle-y car. The racetrack section felt a bit heavy-handed but I suppose they needed to cover Performance somewhere.

Credit to the agency team for sorting all the nice little details (Hello GQ, Vanity Fair) as well as the talent- Usher, Kate Upton (2 for 1 deal?) and Willem Dafoe.

All in all a very solid spot. Perhaps more of a big kickoff to an ongoing campaign than a Super Bowl poll-topper but between this spot and the pre-game work, Mercedes have had a much better Super Bowl than most car makers.

Mercedes Benz USA

Check out more Super Bowl 2013 coverage on the site today.


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