Mercedes I love you, but you’re bringing me down.

Andi McDermott on July 18, 2017

This post is a bit different.  2 BROADS, from 2 generations, with 2 different perspectives.


The Millennial BROAD – Andi.

I want to preface this by saying I know nothing about cars. I know the big brands, and I know how to drive. I get the basics, but beyond getting me from point a to point b, it’s all white noise.


Which is why I was surprised to find over the last few weeks I have repeatedly caught myself thinking about the Mercedes “Grow Up” campaign. It’s bold, it’s beautiful and I’m hooked on the storylines.


Over the next year Mercedes will continue to push the boundaries with “Grow Up” and subvert the typical car ad which follows THE formula. Sweeping landscape shots, a cut to a smiling family, and a choice of either ‘care about these benefits’ or ‘look at the price!’.


Mercedes have gone in the opposite direction. And as much as I look at this and think that this is what branded content is all about, it also makes me ask ‘what the fuck are they trying to do?’


Mercedes ‘Grow Up’ trailer.

“With ‘Grow Up’, we are reinterpreting traditional values and attitudes towards Mercedes while showcasing their modern-day interpretation and relevance within generations X and Y,” VP of marketing Thiemer states.


Great, I get that. Mercedes is kinda an old brand. My friend’s parents drive it, so do their grandparents. If you don’t adapt, you die. Mercedes is doubling down, and has made a strategic move to stay relevant before it gets left behind.


But here’s what I can get over. Mercedes is a luxury brand. It’s product is expensive. There are no two ways about it. I’m wary of trotting out the ol’ millennial trope (see: disenfranchised, lazy, avocado, baby boomers are the enemy etc) that has had a stronghold on millennial thinking for the past 5 years, so instead I will say this; the disconnect here is about so much more than affordability. While the price of Mercedes has a part to play, this is about mindset.


When I look at my life a luxury car would be a ‘nice to have’. But is it a priority? No. That’s a firm no. I am in Mercedes’ sweet spot for their new positioning. I fall squarely into Gen Y, I have a good job, I live inner city, I have a disposable income and I recognise their story lines. They’ve happened to me. I even recognise ASAP Rocky in their campaign. But does it make me any more inclined to buy a Mercedes? Definitely not.


I have no doubt about the benefits, luxury and comfort that come with owning a Mercedes but the fact is this; I have no interest in owning it. We are entering the access economy and as such the payoff isn’t enough for me. Let me access the benefits for a smaller price and I’ll reconsider.  This isn’t a whinge about the price of Mercedes, this is about the fact that while Mercedes have made content that resonates with me, their end product doesn’t.


The Gen-X BROAD – Lauren.

I love Andi’s observations on Mercedes’s new campaign and think they’re really relevant; they show that when people in the target audience are involved in creating the content, it resonates well with the intended audience.  


Andi has considered this campaign in a very ‘millennial’ mind frame; here and now.  But the reality is a car purchase is considered.  


Once people have decided to purchase a new car it takes around 3 months* to complete the purchase and that’s for people who are ‘actively’ looking for a new car.  For brands, it takes even longer to get on to the consideration set so arguably; this is what Mercedes are doing.  Building an affinity with the next generation of Mercedes buyers.  


If this is the case, it’s very smart.  Two thirds of women consume content about the next stage of her life and 76% of automotive purchase decisions are made by women. Possibly; Mercedes are clear that the “Grow Up” content won’t drive immediate conversions but will create latent brand preference for 5-10 years into the future.


So if we consider both approaches:

Andi’s point: the content resonates but won’t drive conversion now and;

My point: the purpose of the content is to build brand affinity for future conversion then; perhaps there is a missing link in the middle.


This would be a FCRM (I just made that up); a future customer relationship management program.  So to Andi’s point, create something at a lower cost of entry that the audience can buy into now, then nurture that audience for when they have the disposable income to buy into the end product at some point down the track.  


Kind of like that time on Friends when Joey donned everything Porsche because he couldn’t afford the real thing… yet.  But much less naff and well thought through; like Mercedes Experiences for instance.  Drive days and experiences that add to the Millennial’s experience collection and give them a taste for the brand.


Less this:

More this:

Either way, this is great content by Mercedes.  It’s disruptive for the luxury category, well composed by the audience for the audience and certainly helps to shake off that argyle knitted cardigan that the brand has been long wearing (although ironically; a clear fashion choice by the elusive millennial hipster).



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