Content Brand of the Week: Mercedes-Benz, the luxury car brand that hits the marque

Last week it was fashion labels; now it’s luxury cars. I could get used to this!

Glad you’re enjoying yourself. We’ve been enjoying Mercedes-Benz content (assured, responsive and stylish, much like their cars) – particularly its new, Reggie Yates-fronted ‘Style Pit Stop’ .

Sounds like a middle-of-the-road version of ‘Pimp My Ride’.

Not quite. This is a series of films about sartorial style, rather than car customisation, that has Reggie conducting celebrity interviews while driving through London with his celeb pals (in a Merc, naturally), taking viewers on a chatty tour of the city’s hip hangouts.

So we’re back on fashion again… what’s that got to do with Mercedes-Benz?

The online shorts are being released through September 2013 to coincide with the brand’s sponsorship of London Collections: Men (think London Fashion Week for menswear). The first, in which Tinie Tempah hitches a ride to east London, ends with the duo popping into a Brick Lane boutique (not named in the video, but Speak Media’s own style scouts can reveal it’s one of our own fave local shops – Number Six). It’s a savvy content campaign that not only positions the brand within the world of style and celebrity culture but also leverages Yates’ profile among a younger set in order to start building rapport with the next generation of luxury car owners.

Down with the kids, eh?

You could say that. But Mercedes isn’t forgetting other core audience segments – take for instance their impressive new app, Mile Tracker.

And what’s that for? Besides the obvious I mean.

The Mile Tracker app has been created with high-mileage business people in mind, so it has lots of neat functions to make life easier for travelling execs. As well as letting you keep track of how far you’ve driven, you can also add in any expenses incurred along the way and generate a report.

Very business-like.

Indeed. Our favourite feature is Locate My Car, which can remind you where you parked and even plot you a route back to your motor.

Mum would love that! Probably worth the price of a new Mercedes alone.

Well, she needn’t shell out £20,000+ for a new Merc, because the app is available to everyone for free from Apple and Android app stores.

I’ll let her know. So why buy a Merc?

There’s certainly a lot of great content being produced by Mercedes, which if it doesn’t make you run right out and drop 20 grand, will at least engender a deeper love of the brand. Like many car companies, Mercedes understands the lifetime value of a customer and puts a lot of effort into its content-driven retention strategy.

Such as?

Well there’s a magazine, available online and in print, which Mercedes uses as a tool for driving both loyalty and differentiation. In the latest issue, the subject matter includes a roundup of the UK’s best seaside restaurants, a feature on China’s fastest-growing city, a profile of Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg and a spotlight on the Mercedes AMG. The editorial mix represents a good balance between the brand’s commercial motives and the interests of the brand’s aspirational audience. There’s also what amounts to a brand-centred theme park in Surrey, UK – ‘Mercedes Benz World’ no less – which promises “an unforgettable day out, not just for motoring fans but the whole family”.

Mercedez-Benz Magazine online
Mercedez-Benz Magazine online

App; check. Style and celebs; check. Custom publishing and experiential content; check. Sounds like Mercedes has it sewn up?

That’s not all. We’ve left our favourite piece of Merc’ branded content till last. ‘Lucky Star’ is a movie, or rather the trailer for a movie, that never actually existed. Starring big-screen superstar Benicio del Toro and shot by Michael Mann, the trail was shown in cinemas around the world alongside legitimate previews, pumping excitement about the fictional film to fever pitch, before Mercedes eventually let the cat out of the bag. ‘Lucky Star’ was all about its new convertible all along.

Sneaky blighters!

Savvy blighters, more like. In a marketing landscape where all ‘advertorial’ must be clearly signposted to the reader, Mercedes took their message (and money) to the big screen, where no such rules were in place. The entire 2002 stunt was aimed at blurring the lines between art and marketing – you could say it stands as a vintage example of story-led, brand-boosting content. And Mercedes has continued demonstrating its commitment to high-quality, multi-channel content in the decade since ‘Lucky Strike’ struck gold, establishing itself as one of the automotive industry’s most powerful content brands.

Where next?

More from Tom Owen
Previous content brands of the week
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Author: Tom Owen

A strategic storyteller and compelling content creator, awash with acuity and adept at alliteration. I work for Speak Media.

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