Mercedes-Benz says Kate Upton Super Bowl ad has boosted brand's profile with young buyers
Feb 08, 2013 (Detroit Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The U.S. chief of Mercedes-Benz said the company's Super Bowl commercial and an online-only teaser video with Michigan model Kate Upton had boosted the luxury automaker's appeal with younger consumers.
"There's a method to that madness because we're trying to reach out to younger buyers, not just the folks who have considered Mercedes-Benz," Mercedes-Benz USA President Stephen Cannon said at the J.D. Power & Associates International Automotive Roundtable here.
The German brand, a division of Daimler, highlighted its all-new CLA-Class sedan on Super Bowl Sunday, one of its first cars to be priced slightly below $30,000.
Fully equipped, the new model can cost up to $40,000.
The CLA, which will hit showrooms in September, heightens the competition in the luxury marketplace against fellow German competitors BMW and Audi.
Meanwhile, General Motors last month won the North American Car of the Year award for the Cadillac ATS, a CLA competitor, and Ford is seeking to revitalize the Lincoln brand with compact and midsize models.
"We're going to have to duke it out," Cannon said.
Mercedes-Benz drew attention to the CLA-Class with a Super Bowl ad featuring Upton, musical artist Usher and actor Willem Dafoe. Before the game, the brand released a teaser ad showing Upton, a former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, walking tantalizingly toward a group of car-washing men.
The Upton ad, now viewed more than 13 million times, according to Mercedes-Benz, stirred some angst too.
"She playfully flirted with the camera and then came up to the CLA and said you missed a spot," Cannon said. "So it was pretty tame. Prime time nowadays has gotten very racy, so I felt this was not too far for the brand."
Appealing to younger buyers is a priority for Mercedes-Benz, Cannon said. He said the average age of a Mercedes-Benz buyer is 50, but he told reporters that he expects to "drive that significantly lower" with the CLA.
But Mercedes-Benz knows most of its buyers will still be 40 and older.
"It's not like we're trying to become a kid car," he said.
Though the CLA-Class got a boost from the Super Bowl ad, Mercedes-Benz, which previously paid for naming rights to the Louisiana Superdome, took some flak when about half the dome's lights went out early in the third-quarter.
"It's funny how many texts I got that said why didn't you pay the electrical bill," Cannon said. Fortunately, the game's momentum shifted toward San Francisco after the blackout, meaning more people were watching when the Mercedes-Benz ad aired in the fourth quarter.
Contact: Nathan Bomey at 313-223-4743 or email@example.com.
___ (c)2013 the Detroit Free Press Visit the Detroit Free Press at
www.freep.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Sports Techy's Homepage ]