In its last Super Bowl appearance, Mercedes ran a 60-second ad in the fourth quarter that depicted past and present car models escaping garages, showrooms and driveways to welcome a new lineup of autos. Entrepreneur Sean Combs, also known as Diddy, had a featured role. The automaker intends to run its 2013 ad in the fourth quarter as well, according to a spokeswoman for the company. Already, news reports suggest model Kate Upton and singer Usher will be featured in the new effort.
The ads are being crafted with Mercedes' longtime agency, Merkley + Partners, owned by Omnicom Group.
"There's more to come," Cannon said, declining to tip his creative hand. "Celebrity plays with the young audience, and we are stepping up our game. If you want to step on that stage, you'd better be prepared to go big. Mercedes-Benz is a brand that has a very high celebrity quotient anyway. It's our natural audience. We're going to have some fun with it in the spot itself, use these high-profile kind of celebrities in connection with this new vehicle."
Trying to stand out
The company will have to work hard to stand out. For the past two years, the Super Bowl has more or less become a parking lot of ads from sundry automakers. Already, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia and Ford's revived Lincoln brand are among the sponsors expected for the next event. VW has proven adept at generating buzz with pre-releases of Super Bowl content. And many observers are wondering if Chrysler will join the event again -- and if so, how it might top its 2012 post-halftime spot featuring Clint Eastwood.
Of course, Mercedes has a weapon in its marketing arsenal that others do not: its name on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, where the 2013 Super Bowl will unfold.
The automaker has reached out since 2005 to New Orleans, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, Cannon said. Mercedes has planted trees and taken part in several charitable programs. "We are a member of that community -- more than just slapping our logo on a very large stadium -- and we are going to leverage that," he said. Some of the commercial work for the company's Super Bowl ad spot is taking place in New Orleans, where it can generate economic activity, he said.