Clever Campaigns

This week I’ve been spending some time looking at how to use film to create a digital campaign and my eyes lit up when I saw the Mercedes Benz ‘Escape the map‘ film on the weekend. The premise is simple: an interactive film that puts you in control of a C63 AMG to help a pretty lady escape Street View. It’s clever, the choices are simple and the execution is great. I saw the URL tweeted on Sunday, tried it out, then saw a Metro ad wrap around on Monday morning. It’s memorable and worth trying out. My favourite part is that it uses data capture in your phone number to call you after you’ve escaped the map to say thank you. It’s simple, but a phone call from an advert is very engaging indeed.

The issue I have is that if you have the money for a Mercedes C63 AMG (AMV BBDO who created the campaign claim it is targeted at a youth audience), you probably wouldn’t be sitting at your computer with the time to escape the map. So you’re unlikely to buy one as a direct result of watching the film.

The brand building, however, is very impressive. Mercedes has two issues:

1. It’s lost out to brands such as Range Rover, BMW and Audi in the ‘cool/aspirational’ sector of the automotive market. Years of ageing owners has meant it has become a brand your parents/grandparents would own. They aren’t necessarily going to be the ones sitting and engaging in a digital campaign.

2. Young people no longer aspire to car ownership and car brands. Indeed, it’s now about having the latest technology as opposed to the latest wheels.

So there’s an issue on a micro and a macro level for the brand. Using such a technological approach is clever because it addresses both. As mentioned, direct sales aren’t the aim, but this campaign in my mind builds a better image of Mercedes. They are ‘cool’, they are creating content I want to engage with. The fact remains that I probably can’t afford it right now, but if I could in the future (when I’m no longer classified a ‘young person’), I would consider this over a BMW M3, for example.

In recessionary times, it’s often important to focus on the here and now. Need sales, need results. But sometimes a longer term approach such as the one this campaign addresses will pay huge dividendes for a brand.

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