Mercedes panel calls shots on SLS ad
It marked the most authority that Mercedes-Benz USA has given to the online group, which the company has turned to increasingly over the past year for advice and opinion.
Steve Cannon, 48, vice president of marketing, said he was "on the fence" about the rough cut of the spot for the upcoming gull-wing SLS. Only several hundred of the 2011 SLS AMG cars will be for sale in the United States this year.
Nonetheless, the car marks "a big brand moment," Cannon said, and he wanted to take advantage of that moment with emotional messaging.
The communications opportunity for the SLS was so important that Cannon sent the ad agency back to the drawing board five times. Merkley & Partners, of New York, "delivered OK work," Cannon said, "but this had to be great."
The company e-mailed the roughly 1,400 online members of Mercedes' Advisors to join Cannon in a live chat about their reactions to the proposed commercial. About 30 showed up online late last year to view the proposed ad and chat about it afterward.
"They absolutely loved it," Cannon said. So the commercial is being produced and is set to air in May.
The automaker launched the Mercedes-Benz Advisors' panel last March, inviting U.S. owners of models across its lineup to join.
The owners, conferring on an invitation-only Web site, have given Mercedes their opinions and input on a variety of topics. Since its inception, the panel has participated in more than 40 polls, 60 discussions and six live sessions with executives. The topics have included dealership experiences, media habits, vehicle badging and mobile-phone applications.
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