Miruna Codeanu

Mercedes and Hitler, the other PR approach

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2013 at 7:44 am

Here’s a tv spot for Mercedes. Watch it:

Quality. Well done. Funny. Inappropriate. Raising moral concerns. Totally link-able and share-able. Which translates into hype. Sure, it’s 2013 and bad publicity is no longer publicity. Good publicity is desirable. This is not an official Mercedes commercial as you could probably see for yourself. This is a thesis by some German film students.  The students declared they wanted to explore the morality of decisions made if machines had the ability to. Well, actually saying that a car foresees danger before you do is a sales line which makes it an ad.

On Mercedes’ side, they are not happy and forced the student to write : “Non-authorized work” and “No affiliation with Mercedes-Benz.”. Sure, Mercedes, you are a German brand that otherwise would be messing with a matter with tremendous negative image capital. However, they are doing you a favor and they were pretty creative. Only few days I was discussing the matter of ex-nazi brands with someone and apparently Zyklon B- used  by Nazi Germans to kill human beings, in gas chambers of extermination camps, still exists under the name of Uragan D2, sold to eradicate insects and small animals harmful to agriculture. Hitler is a commonplace in the national culture. I’m sorry people, but making fun is absolutely OK. Yes, I actually believe that. I actually believe that the perpetual constant smoldering conflict is of no use. It is rather a smile that which brings people back together. So, Mercedes, you are a serious traditional brand. I understand. You answer however, does not do your PR department justice.

Here’s an alternative. “Here, at Mercedes, we treasure courage and innovation, so we really appreciate the quality of your video. However, we respect all people of all ages and races and for that we wouldn’t our brand associated with a very sad memory from our historical past”.  Why? Because they chose your brand over some other brand. Because, basically, they are advertising it. Because they might be your future clients.


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