With the launch of the redesigned S class and a new generation of compact cars, Mercedes-Benz USA marketing boss Bernie Glaser has a big year coming up in 2013.
Also, the Super Bowl will be played in New Orleans in the stadium that has been renamed the Mercedes-Benz Superdome -- and Mercedes will run commercials during the game for the second time in the company's history.
Glaser, 48, has been in his job since February. He joined Mercedes 20 years ago and has worked in the United States for 13 years. In addition to his marketing post, Glaser kept his old job as general manager of product management.
He spoke last month with Staff Reporter Diana T. Kurylko at Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters in Montvale, N.J.
Q: What are your main goals as head of marketing?
A: We will launch nine all-new products, like a new S class, over the next three years. This massive product offensive will be flanked by a marketing offensive.
How will the marketing change?
The fascination of a customer with Mercedes-Benz starts with marketing. Every interaction or every touch point with our brand will be part of this "best or nothing" customer experience that we are pursuing. It will be implemented across the entire marketing mix.
If you ask what is my mission as the new marketing vice president, it would be transforming what could be an ordinary moment into an extraordinary customer moment. It means we deliver a customer experience which parallels the amazing cars which we produce.
We will do that across the entire marketing mix: traditional marketing, TV commercials, digital and social and all of our brand experience marketing programs.
Will you keep your "The best or nothing" tag line?
Yes. That goes back more than 125 years. It is a quote from Gottlieb Daimler, one of our founders. It is relevant for our brand today.
You have used a lot of TV lately. What will you do differently to attract young buyers to the new CLA compact sedan?
Obviously, TV is very important still for us, but more and more importance gets shifted to the digital component. It is too early to talk details.
Will you promote the CLA as a new family?
It has yet to be determined. We are referring to it as a new generation of compact cars. The official nomenclature will be CLA.
What vehicles are you marketing through the end of 2012?
We just started shipping the new GL, our seven-seat unibody SUV. Launching that SUV is important for us. It is made in the U.S. for the U.S. We have two TV commercials on air. It is an integrated campaign with our ambassador on the sports side, Roger Federer. The first commercial is "The Many Rogers."
How do you integrate digital with the TV spot? And why a tennis star?
Leading up to that commercial, we partnered with Roger on his Facebook page. We used his immense fan base to select a headline for a print ad and they voted for it. It is the second time we did that -- the first was for the CLA. He is a legend and an icon and what better fit with the brand Mercedes-Benz?
What is the headline?
"Proud holder of 17 majors, 76 singles titles and twin daughters." It is a print ad and it goes into some tennis magazines. We also used Roger Federer's and MBUSA's Facebook pages. We put a teaser out that showed scenes in the filming of the commercial.
What campaigns will follow?
There are three more, done since I started on Feb. 1, to support our volume products -- C, M and GLK. They started in late August and early September.
What will you feature in Super Bowl commercials?
We haven't decided yet. It will be our second Super Bowl. We weren't in the last one but we were in 2010. It is the biggest event in the United States and it is a great platform to launch a car.
What is your biggest challenge?
To successfully establish the new platform of this new generation of compact cars in the United States. We are looking forward to it and have great plans. This marketing will start early next year.